At this point Jesse Harris is best known for writing songs
for the smash debut album by Norah Jones - in particular the smash hit single
"Don't Know Why." Well, in the first album by Harris and his band if
you're expecting more sweet jazzy grooves like that, prepare to be surprised.
In fact, musically The Secret Sun is very far from the feel Harris helped
to cultivate on Come Away With Me. The Secret Sun has much more of
a country folk pop feel.
Harris has a scratchy voice that brings out the details of
the lyrics. "Just A Photograph" has a lovely burnished country feel, all
gentle picking and mournful bass. The title track has a gentle Bleecker
Street folk vibe reminiscent of early Dylan or Paul Simon. Yet, he can
turn up the instrumental power on the plaintive pop of "All My Life."
His famous friend Norah returns the favor for his help on her
album with a lovely vocal turn on "What Makes You," and backing vocals on "If
You Won't." The delicately desolate acoustic ballad "How?" feels like a
confession whispered across a bed. This is even stronger as it is followed
up by the locomotive folk pop of "You Were On My Mind."
Unlike so many people known mostly as a songwriter, Harris is
an appealing frontman. His voice may not be technically perfect, but it
fits the intimate charm of the music he writes. The Ferdinandos are a
strong backing unit.
This album really surprised
me. In a good way, though... (6/03)