Norah Jones & Her Pals; The Decemberists

'...Featuring' from Norah JonesJazzy pop vocalist Norah Jones releases her 5th full-length record entitled ‘…Featuring’ on Tuesday, entirely comprised of collaborations with other artists.  And heavy hitting ones, too.  Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, OutKast, Ryan Adams and Herbie Hancock are just a sampling of who makes appearances on the 18 tracks, each featuring a different guest.  My favorites so far are the partnerships with Dolly Parton, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, M. Ward (with whom she does a bluesy slowed-down cover of “Blue Bayou”), and Belle & Sebastian.

The modest Jones described the experience of working with these people on her website:

“It’s so exciting and flattering and fun when I get asked to sing with somebody that I admire,” says Jones. “It takes you a little bit out of your comfort zone when you’re doing something with another artist. You don’t know what to expect—it’s kind of like being a little kid and having a playdate.”

“A lot of the people on this record are people I’ve worshiped since I was a kid, and some of them are younger and more my contemporaries,” says Jones. “Even though the musicians are so varied, the vibe of the songs makes sense when we put them all together.”

Perhaps one of the most surprising of the results comes with Foo Fighters.  I mean, anyone that knows the work of Dave Grohl knows that besides melting your face off at times with the Foos’ more belligerent stuff, at the root of it all, he’s an excellent musician and vocalist.  The track they do together is a nice duet between Grohl and Nora and is a jazzy number–huh?? a piano on a Foo Fighters track? Yep.  Because it’s a bit of a surprising outcome, I figured it would be an interesting one for you to check out:

The Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones – “Virginia Moon”

And here’s the full track listing:

‘…Featuring’

1. Love Me – The Little Willies
2. Virginia Moon – The Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones
3. Turn Them – Sean Bones featuring Norah Jones
4. Baby It’s Cold Outside – Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones
5. Bull Rider – Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson
6. Ruler Of My Heart – Dirty Dozen Brass Band featuring Norah Jones
7. The Best Part – El Madmo
8. Take Off Your Cool – OutKast featuring Norah Jones
9. Life Is Better – Q-Tip featuring Norah Jones
10. Soon The New Day – Talib Kweli featuring Norah Jones
11. Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John – Belle & Sebastian featuring Norah Jones
12. Here We Go Again – Ray Charles featuring Norah Jones
13. Loretta – Norah Jones featuring Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
14. Dear John – Ryan Adams featuring Norah Jones
15. Creepin’ In – Norah Jones featuring Dolly Parton
16. Court & Spark – Herbie Hancock featuring Norah Jones
17. More Than This – Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones
18. Blue Bayou – Norah Jones featuring M. Ward

The Decemberists 'Down By The Water'The Decemberists return, and all that has surfaced so far is this first single “Down By The Water” (no, not a cover version of the excellent song from PJ Harvey) from their forthcoming new record.  The promo one-sheet that accompanied the song when I opened up the mail simply says “new album coming in early 2011…” and nothing more.
(of course, a quick stop on their website reveals that the disc will be entitled ‘The King Is Dead’ coming out on 18th January, with a pre-order commencing on the 22nd of this month)
It’s funny how this band seems to have as many haters as they do devotees, and that’s especially true in Chicago.  When the city presented The Decemeberists in a free show at Millennium Park during the summer of 2007, it seemed as if the number of people there because they love the band was the same as those who showed up to determine once and for all if they could write the group off.  Say what you want about their (always mixed reviewed) live shows, I still like what main man Colin Meloy does on the Decemberists records, and this first taste of the new effort is a feisty one.

The Decemberists – “Down By The Water”

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