8 Time Grammy Award Winner? For Real?

I'm sure everyone out there is sick and tired of my whining. But, I (once again) feel the need to vent.

Today, (Sunday, May 25th) which happened to be a damp, drizzly day in Connecticut, Lisa (my better half) and myself, strolled into FYE in the Danbury Fair Mall. She went her way to DVD movies, and I went mine into "Pop/Rock" CDs. After about 15 minutes or so, Lisa found me at the register with a copy of Norah Jones, "Come Away With Me". As we stood in line, she looked at the CD cover and we discussed my new CD purchase. She noticed that of the 14 songs contained on the CD, only 2 were written by Norah. One song (#13) was a collaborative effort.

We further discussed the fact that many of the best artists use non-original material. But, Lisa did make an intersting comment; "Hmmm, she said. I'm surprised that someone awarded Best New Artist would only have 2 original songs". Again, an interesting observation.

Well, I didn't let that take the wind out of my sails. I just continued looking at that little blue sticker on the front of the CD case stating "8 Time Grammy Award Winner", " Album Of The Year", "Best New Artist", "Song Of The Year". I had never heard the complete album, but I figured, it's gotta be halfway decent.

Upon arriving home I put the CD through my usual ritual (Wash, Cut, Polish and Demagnetize), placed the CD In the Audiomeca and sat back to listen to this exciting new "Grammy" performance.

You're kidding, right? This is it?

O.K.,O.K. Kinda cool voice with a sandy kind of texture, (although, she sounds like she was recorded using a plastic microphone), average piano playing skills (although, on cut #1 the piano sounds like it's under water), and on cut #9, she had an almost Ricki Lee Jones "kind of" quality. Overall, not a bad recording, but I wouldn't put it high on the "sonics" list.

So, this is "today's" Grammy material Huh?

I'm certainly glad I'm not a postal worker skilled in firing automatic weapons, cause I feel like I'm losing my mind.

Has anyone found this "Grammy Award Winner" worthy of it's status?

My opinion? I'd have to concur with the title of the first song,"Don't Know Why".

First I will address the recording:

1 - This is a good recording. I have heard it on several reference systems, and it is very good. It stomps most of the other modern mass market commercial recordings made today.

2 - If you even remotely like the CD, you HAVE to hear it on vinyl. It is much better on vinyl. MUCH BETTER.

3 - Buscis2, if your room is the same as what it is in your system pics... I would not be making any judgements on the recording. You have a couch between your speakers in addition to your speakers not at all being symetrical in the least bit with your room. This does not touch your cable or speaker selection.

On Grammy and Talent...

1 - Folks, knocking Norah by saying that she has little talent is a bit funny. If you want to listen to only the most talented singers, go listen to opera. The best singers sing opera because only the best singers CAN sing opera. Singers like Ella and Jennifer Warnes could have sung opera, but even in that arena, they would have a lot of competition for being the 'best singer'.

2 - What is amazing about Norah is that she is a kid (like age 22 or so). Her production company estimated in the beginning her album sales would probably top out at 300,000 to 400,000. How many albums did she sell? Well over 10 million! Ms. Jones is NOT some sort of overproduced pop star. Her recordings really are pretty raw. There is a bit of processing, but not much. They did not spend much money producing her album. In contrast, check out the debut album from the daughter of the King. Her album is over produced to an extreme.

3 - Norah is a kid, give her time to develop. Maybe she will be a one album wonder. I doubt it. But who knows? I will love to hear her in 10 years. Singers take time to develop.

4 - Comparing Norah to the great female vocalists after one album is absurd. Give her 10 years.

5 - Did Norah deserve all of the Grammy's for an album that has two original songs and the rest covers? I know a few people who have a vote in the Grammy awards. They certainly think she has a lot of talent. Many, many people (most pretty talented, and most who know talent when they see/hear it) vote on the Grammys. Awards by their very nature are unfair. People get left out... Just ask Scorcese, he was beaten out by a convicted rapist for best director this past year. Oh well. My personal opinion is that there have been much bigger injustices handed out by awards. Anyone think Titanic and Gladiator deserved best pictures?

6 - The thing that Norah has going for her is that her sound is fresh, original, and not over produced. People loved it. It became popular. There is something to be said for being able to tap into pop culture with a kind of music that was only expected to sell MAYBE 400,000 albums max.

Personally, I love the album. She sings country tunes in a her own style that is very soulful. Her two original songs on the album are quite good as well. Her voice is recorded very, very well especially when compared to someone like Patricia Barber. I like PB a lot to, but she is usually recorded with her mouth practically around the microphone. Still like her albums though. On thing about Norah is that the album takes some time to really grow on you. The first time I heard it, I liked it. The 10th time, I was mesmerized by it.

Viridian- "Verse," is totally different from PB's past CDs
which cover standards in various group settings.

She takes some chances on this recording, but it's interesting. The recording has some real dynamic range to it. Reminds me of the great coffee house music of the late '60s.

I agree with you on Telarc's excellent sound quality. A Telarc DSD must hear, is Benny Green & Russell Malone- Jazz at the Bistro. Hope they put this one out on SACD.

DB, your tremendous wealth of knowledge is somewhat overwhelming.

It also amazes me at how well your eyes can hear. It is really quite an incredible ability. You must feel very special.

I would have to assume that after the extensive amount of formal education you received pertaining to room acoustics, sound reinforcement and acoustic physics, you would now be capable of looking at a portion of a picture and determining how a room, and the system contained within, sounds.

Very impressive.

So, before I opt to unleash my verbal wrath on you, I think I'll just revert back to a very valuable lesson my Dad had taught me many years ago. He suggested.....

"In times of confrontation, sometimes the best response you can receive is no response at all".

Now, whether you may attempt to comprehend this is totally irrelevant.

But, consider yourself fortunate. Do you understand?....... I didn't think so.

Marty, I hated Naked Songs. Ricki Lee's voice doesn't hold its' own-like nails scaping on a chalkboard. She, for my ears, needs plenty of instruments. She's hard to take with just a piano or guitar. Just my humble opinion. She soars in Pop Pop, though.
Are we forgetting, Ricki's first album, The Magazine, Pirates, and Traffic From Paradise? I feel that Ricki's older material was a little more melodic, very well recorded and slightly more indicative of Ricki's style.