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 spirits shadowy nooks and shimmering crannies, but shes 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 generations 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
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