Live Review: The Little Willies at Stagecoach 2013
The setting: About as far as one could get from Hank Williams, Jr.'s stage show, both sonically and physically, The Little Willies played it cool and easy at the Palomino stage as Mr. Williams finished out the last half of his set.
The takeaway: While Hank Williams, Jr. quite handily brandishes the outlaw legacy of his storied father, Norah Jones seems to have carved out a section of her career to remind the world of the romanticism and gentle elegance of Hank Williams, Sr.'s ouvre.
From her solo debut, her spare "Cold, Cold Heart" laid the song's emeotional core and power in plain light.
With side band the Little Willies, Jones and company (Jim Campilongo, Richard Julian, Dan Rieser and Lee Alexander) lovingly reimagine classic tunes by the likes of Williams, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton.
On Friday, the band's tight set including a fiery rave-up of Nelson's "Nightlife," a haunting take on Parton's "Jolene" and a raucous "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive," originally a Williams, Sr. hit.
The band trafficks in sass, swing and heart, and though it's hard to look bad standing next to the material they've immersed themselves in, they've really raised the bar by making it look easy.