When Norah Jones walked off with a handful of Grammys in 2003 — most of which for her sleepy mega-hit “Don’t Know Why” — there was one person responsible who didn’t really get his due: Jesse Harris. A singer/songwriter himself, Harris penned “Don’t Know Why” and most of the best tracks off Come Away With Me. That’s not Jones’ fault, it’s just the nature of the business. So, it was quite a nice surprise to see the two friends and frequent collaborators share the stage on yesterday’s David Letterman, but this time with Harris obviously out front (with his banjo) and Jones providing backup vocals and piano.
The two performed the gorgeous hymn-like “It Will Stay With Us” off Harris’ just released album, Watching the Sky. The record can best be described as the folk version of a Norah Jones CD, with guitars and banjos in lieu of piano (for the most part). “Fool’s Paradise,” available on his MySpace, might be my favorite song of the year thus far. And, speaking as someone who still is a rabid fan of all three of Jones’ CDs (seriously, all of them are great), Harris is like the next best thing to a new Jones CD. Speaking of, Jones has been absent for far too long. I don’t blame her for the My Blueberry Nights debacle (when Wong Kar Wai tells you he wants you in his next movie, you simply do not say no), but it’s high-time she return to the studio. Anyone else agree? And is anyone else happy to see Harris get the national exposure?