For The Good Times

The Little Willies

Released: 9 January 2012

Genre: Country

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Clearly bored with her own solo career, Norah Jones keeps seeking creative outlets.

Last year saw the former jazz-pop chanteuse hook up with Jack White and Danger Mouse to vamp convincingly on their Rome project and now she's reviving a hobby act that began in 2003 and produced a debut album five years ago. Like Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club a couple of decades back, The Little Willies is a bunch of mates who meet up and jam and just happen to have a devastatingly attractive and talented frontwoman.

And when they jam, The Little Willies go country. For The Good Times is a selection of country and western covers, most semi-obscure, the odd one – Dolly Parton's Jolene, for instance – staggeringly famous. It's all delivered with taste, subtlety and a big helping of 'why bother?'.

Not to say it's awful, far from it: the title track (a Kris Kristofferson song) has lovely trembling piano and a torch song turn from Jones; Loretta Lynn's Fist City is fast, flirty and threatening; If You've Got The Money, I've Got The Time is a bit of honky-tonk fun. The thing is, there's an essential spark missing and when Jones takes all too frequent breaks to let guitarist Richard Julian take the mic, the Good Times just don't roll.

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09-01-2012