This is a warm little album driven by subtle guitar playing so devoid of Rolling Stones–style bombast (in itself not a bad thing) that if you were blindfolded, you’d never guess at Ronnie Wood’s day job. He opens with an instrumental on which he plays his acoustic slide guitar lap-steel style; the result is marvelously laid-back and melodic. And he closes with another acoustic instrumental — a duet with Bob Dylan on the great songwriter’s own "King of Kings."
Wood presses his daughter Leah into service as a singer, and that’s a good idea, because his own wizened croak doesn’t pass easily — on numbers like "This Little Heart," he’s much more adept at harmonizing with his strings. Wood’s son Jessie also appears, on guitar, along with the great R&B session bassist Willie Weeks and — on "Interfere" — Elvis Presley’s original teammates, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana. This number sidesteps early rock for a gentle, countrified jazz-blues feel, with Wood playing second guitar to Moore’s crystalline melody and Fontana keeping his sticks in the slow groove. Even the aptly named "Real Hard Rocker" never overreaches, despite Wood’s dirty rhythm chords, keening slide, and tough harmonica. It’s also his best vocal performance, delivered more as a lowdown narrative than sung. All of which makes this album an unpredictable pleasure — and more soulful than anything Keith and Mick have generated in a while.