Album of the week
Norah Jones may appear to be a brunette Britney, but don't let the Seventeen cover-girl looks fool you. At 22, the singer-pianist sounds as if she has spent the majority of her formative years in jazz haunts and smoky dives rather than the Mickey Mouse Club. She wears her old soul on her sleeve on her surprising debut, Come Away with Me, which fuses sophisticated cabaret-style musings with intimate folk-pop and even a bit of down-home country twang. The 14-track disc includes originals written by Jones and two members of her backing band, bassist Lee Alexander and guitarist Jesse Harris, as well as a Hank Williams cover, a Nina Simone standard and a tastefully understated rendition of the '30s jazz classic "The Nearness of You."
Jones, who attended the same arts high school as R&B star Erykah Badu in Dallas, has a beautifully textured voice with a myriad of interesting colors. The stripped-down production and instrumentation lay bare her vocals on such quiet gems as "The Long Day Is Over" and the mesmerizing title tune, which sounds like a standard but is actually a new composition by Jones. Her songwriting, like her singing, has a timeless allure.
Bottom Line: Keep up with this Jones