Norah Jones Returns This Fall
Beloved by fans for her sultry vocals and jazz-informed, piano-driven pop songwriting, Jones has taken a new direction on the as-yet-untitled album, seeing it as a chance to experiment with different sounds and an opportunity to work with a new set of collaborators, including Jacquire King, a noted producer and engineer who has worked with Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, and Modest Mouse among others. Jones also enlisted several songwriting collaborators, including Ryan Adams and Okkervil River's Will Sheff, as well as her frequent partner Jesse Harris.
"I knew I wanted to try some different things on this album," Jones says. "I'd been playing with the same musicians for a long time. We're all still friendly and I hope we play together again, but it felt like a good time to work with new people and experiment with different sounds. As far as a producer, I wanted someone who could take me out of my comfort zone and find the right musicians to capture what I wanted to do with this collection of songs. I got in touch with Jacquire initially because he engineered one of my favorite records of all time, Tom Waits' Mule Variations. He was really eager to do it and we got along really well, which was important."
King helped Jones put together a new group of musicians to perform on the album, including drummers Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M.) and James Gadson (Bill Withers), keyboardist James Poyser (Erykah Badu, Al Green), and guitarists Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello) and Smokey Hormel (Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer). Jones and King tailored the songs to the musicians' strengths. "I think the record sounds different due to the variety of musicians we used," Jones says, "I knew I wanted to play with grooves more than I have on previous albums. Some of these new songs lent themselves to having driving rhythms underneath."
Another noticeable change on Jones' upcoming album is that she plays mostly guitar. "I actually write more on guitar than I do on piano," she says. "It just felt more natural for me to play it on these songs."
Since coming on the scene in 2002, Jones' has sold a collective 36 million albums worldwide. Her three studio albums, 2002's eight-time Grammy Award-winning Come Away With Me, 2004's Feels Like Home, and 2007's Not Too Late have each topped the Billboard top 200 album charts in the U.S. and gone to No. 1 around the world. All three have been certified multi-platinum, while Come Away With Me has been certified diamond. Since 2007, Jones has collaborated with a number of artists, including Herbie Hancock, Talib Kweli, Willie Nelson, Q-Tip, Irma Thomas, and Andy Samberg's comedy troupe The Lonely Island. She has also contributed to various soundtracks, including Ken Burns' The War, Ethan Hawke's The Hottest State, and Wong Kar-wai's My Blueberry Nights, as well as the Fats Domino tribute album Goin' Home. In 2007, Jones starred opposite Jude Law in My Blueberry Nights and made a cameo in this year's season finale of 30 Rock. Also this year, Jones was featured as a flagship artist on Apple's GarageBand, presenting a tutorial on how to perform her song "Thinking About You."
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