Jones Ain’t Too Shabby

Krista Tschetter

Krista Tschetter

Norah Jones’ dreamy, effortless vocals remain the high point of her newest album, Feels Like Home, as they did on the Grammy-honored Come Away With Me.

Jones’ voice softly carves through the low key melting of her Handsome Band’s instrumentation on 13 new tracks.

While the album retains the soft jazz base prevelent on Come Away With Me, it also taps into something a bit more rootsy, especially on the first track, “Sunrise.” Easily the catchiest track on CD, “Sunrise” features folky guitar and soft bongo percussion.

There’s also the rather surprising “Creepin’ In,” a duet with Dolly Parton that lends a bit of spunk. Jones steps up and Parton, a true professional, takes care to not upstage her partner or do anything too splashy. The ending effect isn’t dissonant, but in fact, a pleasingly nuanced little country number.

She also channels a bit of the blues, especially on track six, “Be Here to Love Me.”

Jones’ has the voice of a soul much older than her 20-something self. The only thing that betrays the maturity is some of the album’s only slightly sophomoric lyrics (mushy love stuff, etc.). Possibly a coincidence, Jones has writing credits in many of the songs on Feels Like Home. If that’s the culprit, her lyrical craft and talent will mostly likely even up in years to come considering the other-worldly company she keeps by way of her backing band.

In the meantime, it doesn’t really matter. Jones singing the back of a cereal box would probably still be romantic. Her smokey voice is truly smooth, in sharp and appealing contrast to the over-produced, over-sang, over-sexed tunes of many of her pop contemporaries.

4 stars (out of 5)