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Aural Pleasure Review

The Little Willies: For the Good Times

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The second album by Norah Jones' twangy side project formed in 2003 bears all the markings of a full-time artist playing around with part-time sounds. In Good Times, the band that started playing at New York's The Living Room continues reinterpreting well-known and obscure cover songs (plus an instrumental original by Jim Campilongo), all with an air of tossed-off effortlessness that pretty much guarantees a short shelf life. Still, Jones and the rest of the Little Willies (Campilongo on guitar, Richard Julian on vocals, Lee Alexander on bass, and Dan Rieser on drums, all session men and folk players Jones has gigged with) have a good time with the dozen songs on the album. Jones molds country music similar to the way she bends jazz on her solo albums, with a sticky drawl replacing her usual smoky phrasing. This is a tribute album to Loretta Lynn ("Fist City"), Willie Nelson ("Permanently Lonely"), Dolly Parton ("Jolene"), and Kris Kristofferson (the title song) by an NYC boho and band who hear and play things a little less honky-tonk and a little more uptown.

★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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