REVIEWS

KELLY WILLIS
Easy (Rykodisc)

 

Easy is all about how hard life is. Willis’ latest album shows no signs of buckling to the "country" music of Faith Hill or LeAnn Rimes. This time Willis tackles even tougher songs. She covers Kristy MacColl’s melody-challenged Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim! about a girl who’s tired of being used. Willis just about gets the hang of the melody and voices the difficult lyrics with conviction ("They’ll never remember and they’ll never mind/if you’re counting the cracks in the wall/ they’re quick and they’re greedy"). It’s a song about men who just want sex.

Even harder to sing is her own Reason To Believe where the lonely piano of Floyd Domino is played so sparingly, a miscue would throw the song away. Willis manages to sigh, catch her breath, sound miserable and yet sing "good things are meant for me/oh I believe, yes I believe." She’s got a strong team with her. Old timers like Ian McLagan of The Faces, Chuck Prophet handles all the lead guitars and pals like Alison Krauss and Vince Gill for moral support. The most beautiful song here is written by her husband Bruce Robison, What Did You Think, about a woman too polite to tell her heartbroken friend that she’s longing for him. Easy is an album for those late, hot and humid nights. — Michael Cheah

Note: The above was published in BigO #202 (October 2002).
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