If you are a fan of Lucinda Williams' music, then you have likely become used to the artist's darker side, which has been readily on display in the music contained in her past couple of albums, including "West" and "World Without Tears." If the melancholy, brokenhearted Lucinda Williams is the one to which you have become accustomed, then prepare for a load of bluesy sunshine when you listen to her latest, "Little Honey." Apparently things have been looking up in Williams' life, and the good feelings come through in the music, beginning with the barnstorming "Real Love," and continuing with songs such as "Tears of Joy" and "Knowing." "Honey Bee" is particularly good, with Williams giddily singing praise to a new love, "Oh, my little honey bee/I'm so glad you stung me." The songs aren't all gumdrops and rainbows though, mostly because Williams' fans likely wouldn't accept a completely upbeat album. Serious songs such as "Little Rock Star," "If Wishes Were Horses" and "Heaven Blues" plunge the listener back into the heartbreaking stories that have populated past Williams recordings.
Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs sing backup on a few tracks, as does Elvis Costello on the hilarious "Jailhouse Tears." Charlie Louvin and Jim Lauderdale also drop by to lend a hand.
Williams shows she still knows how to have fun, as evidenced on the album's closer, an off the cuff version of AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock and Roll). (A-)
Download These: "Real Love," "Honey Bee," "Jailhouse Tears."