Norah Jones

Norah Jones

Norah Jones

Artist’s Choice: Music That Matters to Her

Hear Music

When I was a kid and a fervent baseball fan, I could never understand the Rex Hudlers of the diamond world. He was the prototypical utility infielder: not much defense, always hit 5-10 homers a year, drove in about 40 runs a season. The perfect picture of mediocrity. I could never figure out why a guy with such a limp bat could linger around the majors for over 10 years. There just had to be an exciting prospect somewhere in the minors who could do better than that.

But then it was explained to me that guys like that stuck because you knew exactly what you got with them. They didn’t produce much, but they did it consistently. With a prospect you never knew what you’d get. And it was Rex’s predictability that helped managers figure out how to win games.

When Starbucks Coffee’s Hear Music label asked Norah Jones to conceive an Artist’s Choice compilation (following others by Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Diana Krall, and others), they were thinking Rex Hudler. By no means mediocre, Norah Jones’s following her stunning debut with a rewind, carbon copy sophomore effort told us what we can expect from the ingénue in the future.

This compilation’s supposed to give us a glimpse at Jones’s record collection and, by extension, her influences. And the pop/jazz diva doesn’t surprise anyone here. While I wasn’t expecting a Primus-NWA-John Cage mix, the predictability of this disc is a bit disappointing. Of course, Norah Jones likes Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Aretha, Willie Nelson and Nina Simone. Who doesn’t? The inclusion of Donny Hathaway’s “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” and The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” are the closest things to mild surprises you’re gonna get here. But there just has to be more, another level of complexity. Doesn’t there?

As I said, this compilation is far from mediocre. It’s fantastic. It couldn’t help being fantastic. It’s filled with damned near every legend of twentieth century popular music. It’s as safe and inoffensive as Jones’s music is, and it is about as surprising as a sunrise. You won’t at all be disappointed, unless you were looking for deeper insight into Jones herself. Hopefully, this isn’t as deep as it gets. She’s just got to be a heavier hitter than Rex.

Hear Music:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Sweet Crude
    Sweet Crude

    Créatures (Rhyme and Reason). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Gregg Allman, RIP
    Gregg Allman, RIP

    Michelle Wilson gives tribute to the voice of an angel. Gregg Allman, RIP.

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

From the Archives