New York singer-songwriter Jesse Harris has made a career out of simplicity. He dons many hats, including writing Norah Jones’ Grammy-winning “Don’t Know Why”, playing guitar on Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, and putting out his own solo brand of introspective, jazzy pop, but the through-line in all of his work seems to be a pared-down, unfussy approach to music that clearly comes from the heart. On his ninth studio release, Through the Night, there are no musical pyrotechnics, either in the arrangements or in the lyrics. In fact, Harris is often loath to even venture away from words with more than one syllable, as on the track “Pixote”: “On a rock / By the sea / You were there / I can see you.”
Through the Night was recorded in the Bahamas, which adds light Caribbean touches that color the songs without becoming kitschy, like the subtle marimba on “Till You Drop”. The effect can sometimes veer off into easy listening territory, particularly on “All Day All Night”. However, it rights itself again with songs like “All That Happened” and “Put It Out of Your Mind”, the opening track that recalls the timbre of My Aim Is True-era Elvis Costello.
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// Notes from the Road
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