NORAH JONES Come Away With Me lyrics"Come Away with Me" is the debut album of pianist and singer Norah Jones, released February 26, 2002 on Blue Note Records. Released on a predominantly jazz-based label and recorded with several jazz musicians, Come Away with Me has been noted by music writers for its acoustic pop style and incorporation of jazz, folk, soul, and country music elements.
The album's critical and commercial success was a breakthrough for Jones in 2002, as it reached the top of the Billboard 200 chart and several jazz charts. The album also topped many critics' "albums of the year" lists and gathered major music awards in the process, including eight Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Come Away with Me" at number 54 on its list of the 100 Best Album of the Decade. Following initial sales, "Come Away with Me" was certified diamond by the RIAA on February 15, 2005 having shipped over 10 million copies in its first three years of release.
Her voice often has a sparse, vulnerable quality in the tradition of Billie Holiday, where an impressive vocal range is sacrificed for tighter, more profound dalliances on a smaller scale. Underneath the timid beauty though is a glimpse of power as raw and romantic as Etta James’ “At Last”. Jones has digested a healthy dose of the great female jazz vocalists, but if musical influences were colors she would be swathed in a magnificent multi-colored frock. She can take songs from a multitude of different genres and rub enough jazz on their edges to conjure the genie of Nina Simone. Jones is a younger musical sibling of Simone, but enough of her own woman as well. Both women peel back the edges of jazz music to reveal the medium’s vast depth and the infinite possibilities found there. Jones’ can hear enough jazz in Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” to interpret it and make it her own as brilliantly as Simone did with “Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues” so many decades ago.
Jones’ version of “Cold, Cold Heart” makes it seem like Hank Williams wrote the song over a few carafes of red wine in a smoky corner of the Five Spot. Her unabashed emotional honesty on this song is as close to the essence of Williams as a ride in the limo where he died at 29 on a cold New Year’s Eve. The steel-stringed clunk and twang of Williams’ rhythm guitar is transformed into a majestic bass line that anchors the other musicians as they take off on Texas-tinged jazz journeys of their own. Jones, who grew up in Dallas, frequently credits her mother’s record collection for her eclectic tastes because it exposed her to musicians as diverse as Ray Charles and Willie Nelson (who she recently opened for and sang a duet with).
Jones’ own compositions, “Come Away with Me” and “Nightingale”, are concrete evidence that she is quite familiar with the work of Carole King. King is as much a part of the piano and songwriting, and even singing, of Ms. Jones than any of the jazz singers to whom she may be compared. Both women can write songs that feel as open as they are independent .
At a recent concert at the Fez in New York City, Jones came out on stage, smiled nervously at the audience, and immediately started in on the piano. There was only time for a second or two of introductory applause. A few notes came out of the piano and then her voice, like a breeze in August, blew through the room. Our conversations stopped in mid-sentence and we hung transfixed for the next hour. The proverbial pin could have been dropped. We were grounded only when Jones, who comes across as being unaware of her immense talent, paused to introduce a song written by one of her bandmates or to refer to herself as a dork.
Jones’ band, which at Fez consisted of Adam Levy on acoustic and electric guitar and Lee Alexander on upright bass, work excellently off one another. Their music has enough jazz in it to allow Levy to make a few improvised solo runs on guitar and for Alexander to prove that he is capable of much more than providing a solid backing beat. This is also true of their work on her album, as well as that of Jesse Harris who contributed a number of songs to Come Away with Me. It is a testament to the promise of Jones’ music that guitar legend Bill Frisell stopped by her first recording session to play on a track. Perhaps even stronger testament to Jones’ merit as an artist, she was produced by Arif Mardin, who can list Aretha Franklin, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and John Prine on his resume.
by Scott Waldman, PopMatters