Turns out Norah Jones packs a sweet and true country twang. On the Little Willies' second album, Jones and four buddies remake down-home classics like Willie Nelson's "Permanently Lonely" and Kris Kristofferson's title track with offhand assurance, like a skilled (but not slick) pickup bar band. The lone original, "Tommy Rockwood," segues into Jones' note-perfect roar through "Fist City" – a Loretta Lynn dust-up that's never sounded so giddy. That's the Little Willies' appeal: Their straight-shooting renditions don't reinterpret material so much as celebrate it wholly.
Listen to "Permanently Lonely":
• Photos: Random Notes