The Little Willies – For the Good Times

For the Good Times Album

For the Good Times Album

Published in the Groove Guide Feb 2011

It’s been six years between albums for this NYC country folk collective but the hunkering for twangy Americana still remains.  Norah Jones (piano/vox), Richard Julian (vox), Jim Campilongo (guitar), Lee Alexander (bass) and Dan Rieser (drums) are not really a super group per se’ but it’s clear each member has their own solid musical identity outside of the group and they combine to produce some very slick performances on this well thought out covers record.  There’s a good  sampling the legends here including a breathless and pleading and haunting version of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’, courtesy of Jones plus Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson and a neat lil’ instrumental from Campilongo  inspired by long walks taken to shake of his nicotine addiction. Their respect and close study of these staples sometimes outstrips the power of the original, an important feature in a covers album. The steadier, more lamenting approach to Loretta Lynn’s “Fist City” fails to channel the fury of the original but has a more mournful tone when it really needs a more twisted and sinister edge.  However, the title’s an endearing rendition of a Kristofferson original and a good reminder of the Southern gentle charm that that walks tall in many of these songs.  In fact, were they not Yankees, this is a group that could even win over the Tennessee sweethearts at the Grand Old Oprey.

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