My ears and heart and soul are giddy. How could they not be? 3rd and Lindsley, one of Nashville’s coolest venues–recently remodeled–had The Little Willies on stage on November 30th. They owned it, and they gave more respect to authentic Nashville country music then, well, Nashville.
The band–Lee Alexander (bass), Jim Campilongo (guitar),Norah Jones (piano, vocals), Richard Julian (guitar, vocals), and Dan Rieser (drums), played seamlessly, with comfort, abandon, and an urban edge. Evident was the love for music, the friendship, the joy in sharing the experience with the enthusiastic audience.
This was the first time I’d seen Norah Jones perform. The second I heard her sing, I melted. What a soothing, mature, controlled, genuine instrument she has. Her playing glided as a perfect extension to her vocals. Alexander was solid all the way. Rieser held it together with complexity, confidence, and one of the fattest bass drum sounds I’ve ever heard. Campilongo reminded me thoroughly of my time playing, jamming, with a smooth Fender sound awash in spring reverb. The wetter, the better, and there was abandon and bravado in all of it. Julian fronted with a right now, almost spoken style and a quick dry wit, understated and effective, a quirky but perfect complement to Jones’ smooth delivery.
Rampant in the industry, especially in Nashville, is the desire, the requirement that the artist be the writer. The Little Willies flew in the face of this with homage to the great Nashville songsmiths.
Thank you, Little Willies, you’ve been an inspiration, you’ve kept the most authentic country music alive and kickin’. To next time.