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Apr 18, 2014







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The Little Willies, For the Good Times
Milking Bull/EMI Records, Jan. 10

By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



After Norah Jones’s dad, Ravi Shankar, split with her mother in 1986, Jones spent her childhood with her mother near Fort Worth, Texas, in the suburb of Grapevine. Her reverence for country music, then, would appear to have real integrity, but you need look no further than this set of old-time standards for the real proof. Jones’s Tammy Wynette-soundalike moment comes soon enough, in a careful etching of T. Texas Tyler’s signature song “Remember Me,” its dusty trailer-park angst quickly evaporating upon the ghost-haunted chuck-wagon treatment “Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves” receives, Burl Ives’ original gentle vibe forgotten. The band’s version of Ralph Stanley’s “Worship You” opens in original-school Dale and Grace fashion, Jones and Richard Julian gazing at each other longingly and po-faced, right out of a scratchy Grand Ole Opry broadcast. If there’s a downside to a record like this, it’s being forced to compare it to all the putrid NASCAR nonsense coming out of the South these days, but we seriously don’t need to beat that drum again, do we? A+ —Eric W. Saeger






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