Monday, July 05, 2010

Baby Its Cold Outside - Norah Jones and Willie Nelson

Willie is a master of phrasing, and of putting authenticity and humanity into his performances. Norah is a master of phrasing, and she's working on that other thing, with pleasing results..

I wrote about Norah in March 2008:

The first thing to notice about Norah is her immense talent. Much of her performance is in her soulful intonations. The second thing to notice is that Norah sings for people who love music. She doesn't perform for the larger audience, as Johnny Cash did so well. Why?

Like a lot of famous girl singers: Norah is a naturally shy girl. Watch the song below: her eyes do not connect with audience as she sings - a signal of shyness. Watch, also, at the very end, when the applause flows. At a moment when most country music girls would be greeting the applause with ebullient, gleaming smiles: Norah seems almost embarrassed. Culture may be a factor: Norah is Indian, and Indians are modest about public display. Also, Norah may simply consider bigger performance to be artistically ungraceful. When you are as talented as Norah Jones, you simply let your talent flow out, and you let audience members experience it as they will.

Norah may not realize it, but there are millions of $ waiting for her if she ever goes full out into country music. Or, she may realize it and just not care. She lives in a not-too-large apartment in NYC. She has comfortable income, she has close friends in the city, and she plays at and haunts NYC nightspots most nights of the week. There, she can play and try out any new or experimental type of music which catches her fancy; can go to a club where she is known, and ask if she may play a set or two.

Encore example of Norah and "performing": a duet with Keith Richards[fast forward to the 2:00 minute mark]. He is old, wrinkled, lecherous; she is young, beautiful, modest. He can't sing; she can. He pulls her in close to his old man breath; she bravely sings through it.

HOWEVER, Keith Richards, from 18 inches away, is giving Norah Jones a lesson in performing. Love HURTS, and you can feel it in everything about his outstanding performance. He is performing; she is being careful to hit correct notes. The difference is easy to see. He, with a lifetime lived, with a lifetime of performances under his belt, is conveying the essence of the song. I don't know if she notices the lesson, or if she cares about the lesson. But she should. I like to think she does, and that she is gradually maturing both as a person and as a performer.

The End Zone likes girl singers:

Maria McKee
Desiree Bassett: Best Girl Guitarist
Imelda May:
1) "Don't You Do Me No Wrong", & "I've Got a Lover",
2) "Johnny Got a Boom Boom", & "Big Bad Handsome Man"
Daniela Mercury
Lisa Hannigan
Joan Baez:
1) w/ Earl Scruggs: "Love is Just a Four Letter Word",
2) "Diamonds and Rust"
Lady Gaga and Elton John at 2010 Grammys
Jenny Silver
Brandi Carlile
Brandi Carlile and Norah Jones
Norah Jones and Willie Nelson: Baby Its Cold Outside
Kelly Clarkson
Carrie Underwood has perfect balance in her batting stance.
Julianne Hough has booty.
Susan Boyle: Les Miserables, "I Dreamed A Dream"


Anonymous said...

i love norah as well! she does great duets - one i found was one she did with ray charles called "here we go again." it's on an all-star compilation CD that benefits forgotten tsunami victims in indonesia put out by an awesome humanitarian group called Aid Still Required. check it out -

Roddus said...

I wonder if your talking about the same Norah Jones I'm thinking of, looks like her.
You comments about her possibly making millions singing country and her modest income don't fit for an artist who has sold 50 million albums world wide over the last 10 or so years, which kinda makes here one of the biggest artists on the planet.