Shine A Light: Norah Jones

Several years ago, I was at the Ryman auditorium in Nashville for a Willie Nelson TV special. The show included many greats from Sheryl Crow to Keith Richards to Ray Price. Ryan Adams to Emmylou Harris. The show called Willie Nelson and Friends; Stars and Guitars was being taped for television. During commercial breaks there would be stage changes to be ready for the next act. So during one such change, the crew brings out a little wurlitzer keyboard. Then comes a pretty dark haired girl who sits at the keyboard. She is smiling and staring at Willie like she needs to pinch herself to believe she is there. When she opened her mouth to sing “Lonestar” with Willie, that Ryman audience took a collective breath at this beautiful unknown voice. She wouldn’t be unknown however for long. She soon would go on to win 5 Grammies. She is Norah Jones.

Ever grateful, but having moved long past the need for big radio airplay to feel successful, Jones has been one wonderful CD after another. she has even bucked  label advice and made a record under the band name “The Little Willies” covering many great standards such Willie Nelson’s “I gotta get drunk”, and Gram Parson’s version of the Harland Howard classic “Streets of Baltimore”. In other words Norah Jones is carving her own musical road.

Many before her including Christopher Cross and Shawn Mullins, who scored big from out of nowhere, Norah was almost force fed upon us. Now that the rage has subsided we can let her stretch as an artist, and enjoy the journey with her music. It’s good stuff. Give it a shot if she has been on your back burner for a while.


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