Norah Jones – Feels Like Home (2004/2012)
DSD64 (.dsf) 1 bit/2,82 MHz | Time – 46:15 minutes | 1,83 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Booklet, Front Cover | © Blue Note Records/Analogue Productions
Recorded: 2003-2004, Allaire Studios, Avatar Studios, Sear Sound, Sorcerer Sound. Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio from the original analog master tapes!
Part of Analogue Productions’ reissue of the Norah Jones’ solo catalog, featuring the individual albums Come Away With Me, Feels Like Home, Not Too Late, The Fall and Little Broken Hearts. Each album is also featured in exclusive LP and SACD box sets that include Norah’s Covers album!
Norah Jones took the world (and the Grammys) by storm with her debut album Come Away With Me. Now, she’s back for one of the most-anticipated follow-ups in recent memory. On Feels Like Home, Jones again teams with producer Arif Mardin, engineer Jay Newland and her close-knit touring band. And her pop, jazz, and country-tinged sound has never been richer.
On Feels Like Home, Jones has written several new songs, gathered a few more from her bandmates and also covered Townes Van Zandt, Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan and Duke Ellington. Jones plays piano, Wurlitzer electric piano and pump organ and features her stripped-down core group of guitar, background vocals, bass and drums. We needn’t describe Jones’ singing. Everyone recognizes it by now. The arrangements aren’t quite as mellow as Come Away With Me, but the music still centers on country, pop and jazz colors.
“I’m glad that people liked the last album,” Jones said. “It was where I was at the time, musically. This is where I am now. That’s what a recording is for me, like a snapshot. We had so much fun making this record.”
It may be far too obvious to even mention that Norah Jones’ follow-up to her 18-million-unit-selling, eight-Grammy-winning, genre-bending, super-smash album Come Away with Me has perhaps a bit too much to live up to. But that’s probably the biggest conundrum for Jones: having to follow up the phenomenal success of an album that was never designed to be so hugely popular in the first place. Come Away with Me was a little album by an unknown pianist/vocalist who attempted to mix jazz, country, and folk in an acoustic setting — who knew? Feels Like Home could be seen as “Come Away with Me Again” if not for that fact that it’s actually better. Smartly following the template forged by Jones and producer Arif Mardin, there is the intimate single “Sunrise,” some reworked cover tunes, some interesting originals, and one ostensible jazz standard. These are all good things, for also like its predecessor, Feels Like Home is a soft and amiable album that frames Jones’ soft-focus Aretha Franklin voice with a group of songs that are as classy as they are quiet. Granted, not unlike the dippy albeit catchy hit “Don’t Know Why,” they often portend deep thoughts but come off in the end more like heartfelt daydreams. Of course, Jones could sing the phone book and make it sound deep, and that’s what’s going to keep listeners coming back.
What’s surprising here are the bluesy, more jaunty songs that really dig into the country stylings only hinted at on Come Away with Me. To these ends, the infectious shuffle of “What Am I to You?” finds Jones truly coming into her own as a blues singer as well as a writer. Her voice has developed a spine-tingling breathy scratch that pulls on your ear as she rises to the chorus. Similarly, “Toes” and “Carnival Town” — co-written by bassist Lee Alexander and Jones — are pure ’70s singer/songwriting that call to mind a mix of Rickie Lee Jones and k.d. lang. Throw in covers of Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt along with Duke Ellington’s “Melancholia,” retitled here “Don’t Miss You at All” and featuring lyrics by Jones, and you’ve got an album so blessed with superb songwriting that Jones’ vocals almost push the line into too much of a good thing. Thankfully, there is also a rawness and organic soulfulness in the production that’s refreshing. No digital pitch correction was employed in the studio and you can sometimes catch Jones hitting an endearingly sour note. She also seems to be making good on her stated desire to remain a part of a band. Most all of her sidemen, who’ve worked with the likes of Tom Waits and Cassandra Wilson, get writing credits. It’s a “beauty and the beast” style partnership that harks back to the best Brill Building-style intentions and makes for a quietly experimental and well-balanced album. -AllMusic Review by Matt Collar
1. Sunrise 03:20
2. What Am I to You? 03:29
3. Those Sweet Words 03:22
4. Carnival Town 03:11
5. In the Morning 04:07
6. Be Here to Love Me 03:29
7. Creepin’ In 03:03
8. Toes 03:46
9. Humble Me 04:34
10. Above Ground 03:42
11. The Long Way Home 03:13
12. The Prettiest Thing 03:51
13. Don’t Miss You At All 03:10
Norah Jones – vocals, piano (1,3,4,6,8,12,13), Wurlitzer electric piano (2,5,10), pump organ (9)
Lee Alexander – bass (1-3, 6-12), acoustic bass (5), electric bass (5), lap steel (12)
Brian Blade – drums (12)
Andrew Borger – drums (5,6,8,10), slit drum (1), box (3,11), snare drum (7)
Levon Helm – drums (2)
Kevin Breit – acoustic guitar (1,3,6,7,11,12), resonator guitar (5,8-10), electric guitar (10), banjolin (1), foot tapping (10), backup vocal (6)
Rob Burger – pump organ (3,7)
David Gold – viola (4)
Garth Hudson – Hammond organ (2), accordion (6)
Adam R. Levy – electric guitar (6,8,10,11), acoustic guitar (5), backup vocal (1,6,7)
Daru Oda – backup vocals (1,2,5-8,10-12), flutes (11)
Dolly Parton – vocal (7)
Jane Scarpantoni- cello (4)
Tony Scherr- electric guitar (2)
Arif Mardin – string arrangement (4)
Jesse Harris – acoustic guitar (3,4)