There is a great poem by Wendell Berry entitled The Peace of Wild Things that begins with the lines, “When despair for the world grows in me / and I wake in the night at the least sound / in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, / I go and lie down where the wood drake / rests in his beauty on the water and the great heron feeds.” When there’s too much of a chill in the air to seek much respite in the natural world, though, music can perhaps fill in and offer some balm for the ever-present despair of these times. Norah Jones is one artist who may soothe the tattered spirit. She has a new album coming out at the end of the month and is the subject of the following piece in the New York Times:
A LOCAL musician couldnâ€™t ask for a more appreciative audience than the petite, black-haired woman in blue jeans who was one of about two dozen people at Marionâ€™s Marquee Lounge on the Bowery a few Mondays ago. As the guitarist Tony Scherr led a trio through his bluesy, slightly skewed songs, she tapped her foot, giggled at his stage patter and vigorously applauded his solos. Every few tunes, she whispered, â€œI love this song!â€?
Between sets she walked over to hug band members and chat about gigs. Sheâ€™s part of a circle of New York singers and songwriters who play one anotherâ€™s songs and swap backup musicians. Sometimes she visits Lower East Side karaoke bars and belts out songs by Shakira or Guns Nâ€™ Roses. Sheâ€™s also a member of various bands â€” the Sloppy Joannes, the Mazelles, the Little Willies â€” who show up as opening acts at no-cover-charge places like the Rodeo Bar. But sheâ€™s far better known by her own name: Norah Jones.
In a few days Ms. Jones, 27, would resume her main career: the one that has sold millions of albums and made her almost too popular for the 3,000-seat theaters she prefers to arenas. Her third solo album, â€œNot Too Late,â€? is due for release Jan. 30, and like her first two it offers the intimate sound of a handful of musicians in a small room, the sound of places like this one.
â€œNot Too Lateâ€? is also the first full album of her own songs, and it is darker, thornier and sometimes funnier than the albums that made her a star.
â€œOn the first album I was saying, thatâ€™s just one part of me,â€? she said. â€œAnd then I was thinking, well, am I going to hide the rest of me now just because Iâ€™m afraid of something? No. Iâ€™m just going to be myself.â€? [full text]
And here she is just being herself with none other than Elmo. Too cute…