- Song: "Roll On"
- Artist: The Little Willies
- CD: The Little Willies
- Genre: Roots-Pop
Tucked right in the middle of the drinking-too-much and not-loving-enough songs on The Little Willies' debut is one unassuming Norah Jones Moment. The song is "Roll On," and the intro, punctuated by brushes on a snare drum, suggests that what's to come will be just like the aw-shucks ambling of the preceding tracks.
The Little Willies stop the party long enough for a Norah Jones Moment.
The Little Willies stop the party long enough for a Norah Jones Moment. Bill Phelps
This far in, it's obvious what to expect: pickin'-party songs, bar-band basics enlivened by loose, easygoing solos that traverse Western swing and Stardust-era Willie Nelson. And then Jones enters, singing all worn-out and weary — and not, crucially, trying to act out some approximation of worn-out and weary. Suddenly, the weather gets stormy.
Just like that, the song, written by bassist and producer Lee Alexander, becomes a different endeavor entirely. The lyrics address wasted afternoons, restless days spent "looking for a sign," and Jones sings them in insomniac bursts, tense and fitful. She's the only remotely troubled object in the frame: The band is clicking like clockwork, happy and serene.
Eventually, that spirit sweeps Jones along, too, and as she serves up a thoughtful instrumental half-chorus built from dancing Floyd Cramer honky-tonk lines. At that point, it's possible to detect the faint beginnings of a smile, coming right through the piano.
Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'