The Little Willies - self-titled

The Little Willies
The Little Willies

(Milking Bull)

First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2006, Volume 13, #3

Written by John Metzger


The formation of The Little Willies was a bit of a fluke in that its primary purpose was to provide an opportunity for Grammy-winner Norah Jones, underground folk artist Richard Julian, bass player Lee Alexander, drummer Dan Rieser, and guitarist Jim Campilongo to blow off some steam between projects. Running through a catalogue of country classics, the ensemble managed to deliver an under-the-radar performance at New York Cityís Living Room. However, as one gig turned into a stream of semi-regular events that included a high-profile benefit concert for public radio station WFUV, the loose-knit collective found itself with a rapidly burgeoning scene. Designed as means of christening Jones and Alexanderís new recording studio, The Little Williesí self-titled debut is likely to garner the group even more attention, which hopefully wonít stifle the free-spirited playfulness that pervades the endeavor. Fusing cover material by the likes of Willie Nelson (Gotta Get Drunk and Nightlife), Kris Kristofferson (Best of All Possible Worlds), and Hank Williams (Iíll Never Get Out) with a handful of original compositions, the band delivers an affable set that occasionally strikes pure gold. Of particular note is a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Townes Van Zandtís No Place to Fall, on which Jones caresses Julianís sad and weary vocals with a ghostly whisper. While many might approach the outing with some degree of skepticism, the album is a remarkably solid affair, and considering that it concludes with a novelty tune about cow tipping ó titled Lou Reed, no less ó itís abundantly clear that the effort is meant merely to be fun-filled diversion from business as usual. That it actually is something more is an added bonus. starstarstar Ĺ

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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2006 The Music Box