Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Little Willies

The Little Willies

When Jes and I were up in Sea-town recently, Mage was playing some right fine old-timey music. At one point between shots of burbon, as the tones of a sweet, sweet female vocalist was crooning out the words to "Night Life" (The night life ain't no good life, but it's my life... heh, heh, oh yeah), I had to ask who it was.
"The Little Willies," replied Mage with his usual nonchalant sagacity.
"The Little Willies?" asked I.
"Yeah, it's a band with Nora Jones, that covers a lot of Willie Nelson songs, Kristofferson, some originals... stuff like that."
"Dude, you just described a musical fantasy, that I hadn't had yet!" I responded, both disappointed and elated that reality had outstripped my imagination.

The self-titled debut by The Little Willies is an album that perfectly distills the fun, down-to-earth spirit of this New York band's club shows. The group - Lee Alexander (bass), Jim Campilongo (electric guitar), Norah Jones (piano, vocals), Richard Julian (guitar, vocals) and Dan Rieser (drums) - tears through a mix of covers and originals, from the revved -up western swing of Fred Rose's "Roly Poly" and Willie Nelson's "I Gotta Get Drunk" to the cutting wit of Kris Kristofferson's "Best Of All Possible Worlds"; from the poignancy of Townes Van Zandt's "No Place To Fall" to the cosmic absurdity of their own "Lou Reed."
As one Little Willie noted "Something about living in a big city like New York makes you miss the stuff you grew up with, and in our case it was some of these songs. The original idea was to just be a cover band and play all these great songs we knew. It became really fun to have that outlet, and also a great excuse to seek out other songs we didn't know."

Their album has been available since March of this year, but if you haven't had a listen you should check 'em out.

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