Wednesday, July 13, 2016

96. Norah Jones - Come Away With Me

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It was in a mall sometime in 2002 (or 2003) where I first saw her face on a CD album cover. "She's new," I said to myself without even trying to find out how her songs sound like. Some time later in about
the same year I saw a girl on TV who was driving a car in an empty highway and singing a song I've never heard before. The song was "Come Away With Me." The driver was the girl whose face was on the
cover of the CD album that I saw at the record store. I thought that before this, the last album by a female artist that I really treated seriously enough was by Diane Reeves which was a hit in 1987.

Some more weeks later  (in about the same year)  I was in a record store again looking for some 1970s and 1980s  rock albums  that I thought I've missed.  Of course, I was trying to avoid the new releases
with harsh voices singing the leads in the songs, which I blamed (is this the right word?) on the Rode mic (am I correct?).

After some  minutes  of scanning  through the racks I saw  the face on the cover again.  The salesgirl at the store  offered to let me  sample some tracks  from a promo disc.  It was Norah Jones.  With the
headset still on my ears I signalled the salesgirl to wait until I've finished sampling all the songs in the album. Actually I was only listening to "Don't Know Why" from start to finish. This is the opening track
and it has always  been the song that  makes me  remember my first glimpse of Norah Jones to this day, the face on the cover of Come Away With Me.  And of course, the song "Cold, Cold Heart" which I've
been familiar with since I was a child.

It is July 2016 and I am writing some thoughts to go with my tweak of the album cover for my blog. Surfing the web,  I discovered two things.  The first was that Norah Jones is a daughter of Ravi Shankar,
the Indian exponent of the sitar who became associated with The Beatles. The second was that it was a Neumann M49 mic that Norah Jones used to record the song "Come Away With Me." 

Learning about her father I am glad I that darkened the original album cover photo for the work above. She looks more Indian on the monochrome. 

This is Geetali Norah Jones Shankar on the cover.

No. 52, Billboard, The 300 Best-Selling Albums of All Time

Design & art direction by Jessica Novod, photo by Joanne Savio. Album produced by Jay Newland, Arif Mardin, Craig Street & Norah Jones. Blue Note 2002.

Norah Jones' debut is a mellow, acoustic pop affair with soul and country overtones,  immaculately produced by the great Arif Mardin.  Jones is not quite a
jazz singer, but she is joined by some highly regarded jazz talent:  guitarists Adam Levy, Adam Rogers, Tony Scherr,  Bill Frisell, and Kevin Breit; drummers
Brian Blade, Dan Rieser, and Kenny Wollesen; organist Sam Yahel; accordionist Rob Burger; and violinist Jenny Scheinman. Her regular guitarist and bassist,
Jesse Harris and Lee Alexander,  respectively, play on every  track and also serve as the chief songwriters.  Both have a gift for melody,  simple yet elegant
progressions, and evocative lyrics.

Jones, for her part, wrote the title track and the pretty but slightly restless "Nightingale." She also includes convincing readings of Hank Williams' "Cold Cold
Heart," J.D. Loudermilk's "Turn Me On," and Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You." There's a touch of Rickie Lee Jones in Jones' voice, a touch of Bonnie
Raitt in the arrangements;  her youth and her piano skills  could lead one to  call her an Alicia Keys for grown-ups.  While the mood of this record stagnates
after a few songs, it does give a strong indication of Jones' alluring talents. AllMusic Review by David R. Adler

The album won eight awards (Jones won five of the awards) at the Grammy Awards of 2003,  including Album of the Year, as well as Record of the Year and
Song of the Year for "Don't Know Why".  Although she was happy about her success,  Jones felt bad about sweeping the Grammy Awards.  In an interview for
60 Minutes, Jones told Katie Couric:

"I felt like I went to somebody else's birthday party and I ate all their cake. Without anybody else getting a piece. That's how I felt." wikipedia

(A) Don't Know Why - Seven Years - Cold, Cold Heart - Feelin' the Same Way - Come Away With Me - Shoot the Moon - Turn Me On

(B) Lonestar - I've Got to See You Again - Painter Song - One Flight Down - Nightingale - The Long Day is Over - The Nearness of You

"Don't Know Why" music video from emimusic on YouTube.