Catherine Irwin's second solo album is a showcase for her considerable writing skills both musically and lyrically as well as her singular performance style. Little Heater combines raw and unadorned vocals with lush countrypolitan-style productions: gorgeous string sections, pedal steel guitar and dense layers of vocal harmonies. Lyrics follow the themes of old-time music -- loss, despair, self-destruction and delusion -- but the references and turns of phrase are entirely modern and entirely Catherine's. As she did on 2002's spare and haunting Cut Yourself a Switch, or as she has done as the primary songwriter in Freakwater, Catherine aims her laser wit into the dark corners of the human condition.
Little Heater features guest appearances from Bonnie Prince Billy, Tara Jane ONeil (Rodan, Retsin), Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton (Ida), Marc Orleans (D Charles Speer & the Helix, Sunburned Hand of the Man), and Jean Cook (Jon Langford, The Mekons)
Some things take time if you want them to be good -- sourdough bread, bourbon, wine, and music from Catherine Irwin... Little Heater is a lovely, evocative album that touches the heart, the soul, and the intellect with equal force; this is the work of a singular artist working at the top of her game and it demands to be heard. --All Music
Catherine Irwin channels sadness in mellow Southern tones with the best of them --Magnet
Catherine Irwin's work has been called "alt-country" as long as the term has existed and has remained one of its key voices... The arrival of Little Heater, only Irwin's second solo album, is therefore a notable event, and nothing about it disappoints. --Exclaim