Lucinda Williams Little Honey

Lucinda Williams Little Honey
Fans who found Williams' last release, West, too much of a dour meditation on loss will definitely be pleased with this latest effort. From the opening punch of "Real Love," Williams once again reveals her inner rock chick, leading her road-hardened band through the 12 ensuing raw and lively tracks. After experimenting with many different recording scenarios since her breakthrough Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, the immediate reaction from those that have followed this evolution will be that on Little Honey, Williams sounds utterly natural and arguably more confident than she has in years. For all of her skill at writing tragic break-up songs, it's just as thrilling to hear her turn the tables, as on "Tears Of Joy," or the unabashedly strutting "Honey Bee." However, Williams' best decision was simply to let her band rock out like the roadhouse veterans they are. The energy they inject actually complements the simple romantic sentiments to many of the songs, although Williams' pen rises to the occasion for "Jailhouse Tears," a duet with Elvis Costello, and the epic, Leonard Cohen-ish "Rarity." The closing cover of AC/DC's "It's A Long Way To The Top" puts the perfect finishing touch on the portrait of a rock'n'roll lifer that Little Honey paints, and should be comforting to all the others out there. (Lost Highway/Universal)