Norah Jones | 05.02.07

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I completely forgot that sometimes shows are the best way for musicians to highlight their new music. I was intrigued.

 

w/M. Ward
The Fabulous Fox Theatre, St. Louis
Todd Owyoung's Photos from the Show

Norah Jones in on the road promoting her latest album, Not Too Late. The talented singer's pit stop in St. Louis proved to be a night filled with relaxing music and jazzy vibes. Opening the show was fellow singer/songwriter, M. Ward. Jones accompanied Ward on stage and helped him kick off his set by performing two songs with him. Ward's vocals could be best described as if Rufus Wainwright and Tom Waits got drunk together and then invited Marilyn Manson over to do shots. I couldn't decide if Ward was rockabilly or country; his vocal delivery would switch from twangy to gravelly to creepy all in the same song. One thing is for certain: the boy has an impressive amount of talent. He can tell a story extremely well while ripping off some very impressive guitar riffs.

After Ward's unique half-hour set, the crowd was jonesin' for some Jones. Without much fanfare, Jones took the stage and ripped into the title track from her 2002 album, Come Away With Me. That's the thing that endears Jones to her fan base: the singer is about as unpretentious as they come. She didn't require a lot of fanfare or crowd thunder; she just came out, sat down, and gave the crowd what they wanted. After warming up the crowd, Jones launched into a mini-set of five songs from her latest album. "Be My Somebody" and "The Sun Doesn't Like You" garnered the most applause from the crowd. After the third song in the mini-set, I began to worry that she would perform only new music rather than kick out the jams that we all know and love. Then I realized that if I wanted to hear the singer's older music, I could just put in her CD and chill out. Having been to more concerts that I can count, I completely forgot that sometimes shows are the best way for musicians to highlight their new music. I was intrigued.

One easy criticism of Jones' repertoire is how similar each of her songs sound. Laid back, easy going, and carefree to a fault, each song could serve as background music for any stress management class. The thing that saves the singer from becoming boring is how well she emotes. Jones has the ability to spice up a performance with her sprite-like smile and her undeniable passion for her music.

Jones did make a couple trips back to the past by performing older gems like "Sunrise" from her sophomore album, Feels Like Home and "Cold, Cold Heart" from the debut. However, the rest of the evening was filled with track after track from her latest disc. After the dust had settled—and I had stolen a quick glance at my notes—I noticed the only track off her new album that Jones didn't perform was "Wake Me Up." I think this was the first time I heard any artist perform this many new tracks—12 out of 13—in one sitting.

The entire evening was enjoyable and relaxing, complete with several complimentary comments Jones made about our fair city. While I was hoping for a rocking night full of jazz/pop music, I was surprised at how refreshed and energized I was after Jones' relaxed, hour-and-a-half set. She proved that an effective singer doesn't have to have an overdone light show or screaming lyrics to make a crowd happy. | Jim Campbell

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