Lucinda Williams Little Honey 2LP
The Absolute Sound's November 2008 Recording of the Issue!
TAS Rated 4/5 Music, 4/5 Sonics in the November 2008 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Lucinda Williams has always been adept at painting landscapes of the soul,
illuminating the spirit’s shadowy nooks and shimmering crannies, but she’s never
captured the sun breaking through the clouds as purely as on her Lost Highway
release, Little Honey.
Williams wastes no time signaling the mood change from her previous 'darkly
introspective' works, leading into Little Honey's opener, “Real Love” with a
false start riff that's the six-string equivalent of a friendly wink – then
sidling into the tune's hard-rocking vibe with a sensual slink that underscores
the passion of finding exactly what that title indicates. The bluesy physicality
of that tune is echoed in several of Little Honey's tracks, from the charmingly
chugging “Honeybee” to the gorgeous melodies of “If Wishes Were Horses”.
While Little Honey certainly has plenty to move the hips, Williams doesn't
neglect her uncanny ability to do the same to the heart. The sparse delta
delivery she affords “Heaven Blues” - a keening consideration of what might
await on the other side – hits home thanks to its arresting blend of hope and
vexation, while the epic “Rarity” rides soft waves of brass (instrumentation
never before heard on one of her discs).
Over the course of a recording career that's now in its fourth decade, Lucinda
Williams has established a reputation as one of rock's most uncompromising and
consistently fascinating writers and performers, earning kudos from artists as
diverse as Mary-Chapin Carpenter (who helped win Williams a Grammy with her
recording of “Passionate Kisses”) and Elvis Costello (who joins her for a duet
on the Little Honey mini-drama “Jailhouse Tears”).
Little Honey continues that ongoing forward quest, mixing country, R & B and
blues-rock elements with adventurous aplomb. The disc gets an added octane boost
from the powerful chemistry between the musicians, primarily drawn from
Williams’ latest road band (now collectively known as Buick 6) which includes
bassist David Sutton, Eels veterans Butch Norton and Chet Lyster as well as
longtime collaborator Doug Pettibone.
Williams augments that core unit with a passel of like-minded folks spanning a
huge chunk of the musical spectrum, from octogenarian singing legend Charlie
Louvin to power-pop vets Susannah Hoffs and Matthew Sweet, the latter of whom
helped arrange the Spector-tinged “Little Rock Star”, applying studio skills
that prompted Williams to dub him “this generation’s Brian Wilson.”
Special guests include Elvis Costello, Matthew Sweet, Susanna Hoffs, Charlie
Louvin, Jim Lauderdale and Tim Easton.
"... sounds great, courtesy of a lively recording that prizes organic tones,
transparent vocals, and dynamic acoustics." - Bob Gendron, The Absolute
Sound, November 2008, Issue 186
• Double LP
1. Real Love
2. Circles And X's
3. Tears Of Joy
4. Little Rock Star
5. Honey Bee
6. Well Well Well
7. If Wishes Were Horses
8. Jailhouse Tears
10. Heaven Blues
12. Plan To Marry
13. It's A Long Way To The Top