NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A debut album that won eight Grammys and sold over ten million copies is a hard act to follow, and it can cast a broad shadow on an artist’s career.
Norah Jones, however, doesn’t let her first record – 2002’s Come Away With Me – dominate her concert setlists. At Central Park’s Summerstage on Tuesday night, she let it be known that she’s 100% behind her latest album, the Danger Mouse-produced Little Broken Hearts.
Indeed, the singer/songwriter dedicated nearly half of her set to the album, playing ten of the twelve new songs. And while the album – Jones’ darkest and funkiest – wasn’t necessarily the stuff of “evening under the stars” concerts, she’s built a strong fanbase in her decade-long career, and the audience were supportive for the whole show. The show was more than sold out – it seemed over-sold by a few hundred tickets – but the crowd never got rowdy (unsurprisingly) and greeted almost all of her songs with warm applause. Still, the Little Broken Hearts songs are sad and angry as the title insinuates, and probably would be better served in a club or theater. The lyrics have somewhat more of an edge than her previous material: this is particularly true of “Miriam” (“Miriam, you know you done me wrong, I’m gonna smile when you say goodbye/You know you done me wrong, I’m gonna smile when I take your life”).
Opening with three new songs, “Good Morning,” “Say Goodbye” and “Take It Back,” followed by two from 2009’s The Fall, “It’s Gonna Be” and “Chasing Pirates,” she switched between electric keyboard, electric guitar and acoustic guitar. During the main set, she also played “Black,” from her 2011 collaboration with Danger Mouse (the album, Rome: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, was actually not a soundtrack), and a cover of The Grateful Dead’s “It Must Have Been The Roses.”
Towards the end of the set, Norah got behind the grand piano for a solo rendition of her biggest hit, “Don’t Know Why,” which, predictably, got a huge reaction from the crowd. She quickly followed with two more Come Away With Me songs, her cover of Hank Williams’ “Cold, Cold Heart” and the album’s title track to close the set.
She came back for an encore, playing two rootsy songs from 2004’s Feels Like Home: “Sunrise” and “Creepin’ In” (originally a duet with Dolly Parton, at Central Park she relied on the audience to fill in for the country legend).
Earlier this year, Jones and her country group The Little Willies, released their second album, For The Good Times. Her bandmate, guitarist Jim Campilongo , opened the show with his instrumental combo, however, the two didn’t collaborate onstage.
– Brian Ives, CBS Local