(still playing catch up, hush.)
Taking a break from the Grammy nominations to bring you something totally new. Anyone else wonder, like I do, where Norah Jones goes when she's gone? Welp, this is her country side project that I am just now getting educated on.
This album is, as David Letterman will describe it in one of our videos, "a country album with a collection from The American Songbook." This is all covers, but all their own arrangements. And the songs they picked to record? Whew, no, these are not necessarily the hits, but maybe they should have been.
This is actually their second album, but it's been a decade for them overall. The fact that these guys can still come together and just do this out of wanting to enjoy it and have a good time together is awesome.
Here's the EPK they posted. Really cool getting to know them and how they work together.
Next up is Scott Wisemann's "Remember Me." Norah lends her smooth bluesy voice to this, bringing country back to a place we used to know long ago. This isn't the stuff you hear on country radio or see on CMT anymore. It's very simple and classic, allowing the instruments and voices to do their jobs in their own ways.
"Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves," originally from Cal Martin, is supposed to the be fun song on the album. While it does possess this Beverly Hillbillies sound, it is really a well done song. The lead male vocals take control in telling the story, while Norah takes on this echo of the woman's response to the happenings.
For the next track, I pulled this cool performance video from NYC. It's pretty raw and I think y'all will enjoy it:
"Tommy Rockwood" from the band's very own Jim Campilongo is the song that Dan mentioned earlier he wanted to arrange as an instrumental for the band. You can tell that this is solely a number for them to jam out to and enjoy their time together on. It just keeps moving and building altogether without the slightest bit of jarring.
The lovely Loretta Lynn's got a song next, "Fist City." She's always had a little bit of badass to her and a rock feel to her music, and Norah takes on this one in a great way. This has the potential of the girl without the piano just being able to rock on stage and tell him off, whoever "him" is. This was definitely a sleeper chick-rock song that any indie girl out there would get a great kick out of.
"Permanently Lonely," originally from Willie Nelson, is such a classic. This group gives it just enough of its own sound that it's just right for today and still a great tribute. It remains simple with the piano taking lead and a very light drum backing. For as sad as it sounds, it's such a good empowerment song, even if it may be getting sung out of denial. Ah the tangles of love.
I would have sworn they were the White Stripes on "Fowl Out On The Prowl" from Quincy Jones, Alan Bergman, and Marilyn Bergman. There's that weird dark sound to it without being evil. They've got great control over their own voices and setting the tone of the song completely. The Pink Panther-like instrumentals just make it a great, mysterious number.
"Wide Open Road" from good ol' Johnny Cash is just right. Listen to that music break in the middle - it's classic. It's country. It's perfection in terms of what this calls for. Notice that none of this album is whiney or too honkey-tonk. It's a tribute without loosing what makes this band enjoyable on their own merit.
The legend, Kris Kristofferson, wrote the title track, "For The Good Times." I remember him winning a lifetime achievement award at the CMT awards while I was in the audience, and not knowing who the heck he was. Then I did some research, and this guy's got some chops. The Little Willies do him great justice in this sad, but moving song of remembrance. It's hitting a little hard.
"If You've Got The Money I've Got The Time" is from Lefty Frizzel and Jeff Beck, and this is maybe a little honkey, and I have a hard time when comparing people to Jeff Beck. It's a good song though, a really good job done by the band. It's fun and serves that purpose as it should.
- "Remember Me" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Fist City" - Spotify, YouTube
- "For The Good Times" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Jolene" - Spotify, YouTube
This was really well done. Seriously, the entire album felt like a jam session, which is basically how the band describes it. Everything was so simple, yet heartfelt, with a raw power that you don't get to hear in over-produced albums. What an excellent side project for them all, and how lucky we are to get to experience it.