Photo: Autumn De Wilde
The jazzy, sultry pop of Norah Jones's Grammy-sweeping Come Away with Me (2002) redefined what a hit record could sound like. But after following her multiplatinum debut with the similarly mellow, midtempo albums Feels Like Home (2004) and Not Too Late (2007), Jones is now aiming to redefine herself with The Fall (Blue Note), which leans closer to rock. "If people couldn't describe me easily, I'd love that," says Jones, who plays electric guitar and vintage keyboards on the new record. "I wanted heavier grooves and thicker textures. It was time to try something different." Preparing to start the U.S. leg of her current tour, Jones told O about the music she's packing for the ride.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Reprise, 1969)
"There are certain artists—Neil Young is one, Bob Dylan is another—who have so many little corners of their careers to explore: great albums that don't sound like anything else. Some of these songs are so hypnotic. I love 'Down by the River'—it's epic, and it's got an amazing guitar solo."
Elvis Perkins in Dearland (XL, 2009)
"It's folksy-indie, somewhat acoustic, with horns and lots of interesting arrangements. I like the vibe, but Elvis Perkins's voice is what captures me—a sort of strangled blues howl that's compelling and unique."
Jazz Masters 51: Blossom Dearie (Verve, 1996)
"She was a bebop singer who did beautiful versions of American standards. She sings 'Tea for Two' but really slow and sexy; on Cole Porter's 'Give Him the Ooh-La-La,' she's cheeky and adorable. I love her playfulness, and her voice—it's childlike and womanly at the same time."
Solomon Burke, If You Need Me/Rock 'n' Soul (Collectables, 1998)
"The first track kills me. [Sings] If you need me / all you gotta do is call me / don't wait too long / just pick up your phone / I'll hurry home.... When he sings, you believe what he says."
Corinne Bailey Rae's favorite music
From the March 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!