As he has aged past his rockin’ 1969 bayou hit “Polk Salad Annie” Tony Joe White has become a lover: as laid back as J. J. Cale but with a brighter voice, a songwriter in the vein of Guy Clark but without the angst. On The Heroines, White continues to be a mighty man who can show emotions, again proving he knows what the ladies like. Shelby Lynne co-wrote and duets with White on “Can’t Go Back Home, where her voice drops into the smoky realm as she frees herself from the past, and White fills in what Lynn left behind. Lucinda Williams and White get down to the real nitty-gritty on “Closing In on the Fire,” which is about as sexually explicit as a song can get without needing a parental-advisory sticker. The acoustic “Wild Wolf Calling Me” features Emmylou Harris and White spinning into a more traditional area, while his duet with Jessi Colter, "Fireflies in the Storm,” is a dose of easy folk rock reminiscent of the '70s. Throughout the album White fits into every subtle nuance of the genre, and his guitar work, both acoustic and electric, is so strong that it almost stops the show. Often the inclusion of a host of other artists means the primary one can no longer hold his own, but that’s not the case here. And the presence of these women may attract the audience that Tony Joe White deserves.