Picks and Pans Review: Jesse Harris and the Ferdinandos

UPDATED 08/02/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/02/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

While the Music Lasts

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You may not have heard of Jesse Harris, but Bruce Springsteen sure has. At last year's Grammys, the unheralded New Yorker beat out the Boss, among others, for song of the year for writing Norah Jones's hit "Don't Know Why." The talented tunesmith, who wrote three other songs and cowrote yet another on Jones's debut, Come Away with Me, steps up front as singer-guitarist with his band the Ferdinandos on their second major-label effort. Many of these warm, wistful numbers, with their fluid pacing, light country accents and gently brushed jazz and blues shadings, could easily have been performed by Jones. In fact, she lends subtle support by singing backup on four cuts, including the bossa-nova-tinged title track, and playing piano on one. But if s Harris—with a reedy tenor at times reminiscent of James Taylor, evocative lyrics ("The sky went dark and the moon eclipsed/ And what I missed is all that I can see," on the achingly beautiful "Always Seem to Get Things Wrong") and seamless interplay with his backup trio—who makes a most lasting impression.


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