NPR logo 'You and Me,' Baring Jesse Harris' Soul

'You and Me,' Baring Jesse Harris' Soul

You and Me

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "You and Me"
  • Artist: Jesse Harris
  • CD: Feel
  • Genre: Pop-Rock

Jesse Harris first found success with his contributions to Norah Jones' Come Away with Me. hide caption

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Best known for the songs he's written for others, Jesse Harris first found success with his contributions to Norah Jones' debut album, Come Away with Me. But while he earned a Grammy for his work on the single "Don't Know Why," the singer, songwriter and guitarist has also built a reputation as a staple of New York's East Village music scene. Between playing with his group The Ferdinandos and writing film scores, Harris sways casually between modern Americana and jazz-informed folk-pop in his solo material.

The new Feel sticks to a single laid-back tempo, driven by Harris' lazy, loose-stringed strum and softly sung vocals. Yet his strengths lie in his songcraft. From the rhythmic, marimba-driven "Walk On" to the slow swing of "The Wind," Harris' songs demonstrate a devotion to concise melodies and song forms that leave little to waste.

Poppier than his usual sound, the country-tinged coffeehouse waltz "You And Me" follows a similar formula. Harris' wistful croon sounds restrained and even pensive, yet the soul-baring mood fits with the straightforward atmosphere. Though it's built around little more than a stripped-down guitar, bass, drums and violin, the sound seems fully realized. Harris' voice touches upon a Paul Simon-like timbre, adding a simple but singable melody well suited for introspection.

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