Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper are the band Puss n Boots, a group whose No Fools, No Fun new release lives up to the talent of the band. Challenging themselves, each member is typically on an instrument other than her regular one but, from the impressive quality of the sound, you wouldn't know it.
Jones joins on electric guitar, fiddle, and, of course vocals. All three members sing, and the twang and harmonies draw you in. Popper, known for her work with Ryan Adams among other things, shines, as does Dobson. And, overall, there is just the right amount of twang in the alt country-folk-rock harmonies from this talented trio.
There is a cozy quality to the music. Even when the narrator is telling off someone on "Don't Know What It Means," you want to hear more because there is something warm about the music itself.
At the same time there is bite to the music as felt, in some of the more "bitter" melody moments of "Jesus, Etc." At times, one almost hopes the music will take a direction more into Mazzy Star type territory, but the songs are comfortable where they are, right where they belong.
As for Jones, this album will entertain her plethora of fans looking for something different but still familiar. It's a tribute to Jones how easily she flows with the music and with her bandmates. A superstar she is but, first and foremost, she's a musician through and through. She sings with allure, humor and of course perfectly nuanced pitch. Songs that would sound great with the Indigo Girls and Johnny Cash alike feel like home right away in the hands of this group, accessible and textured. Their live cover of Neil Young's "Down by the River," in its own way, lives up to the original, not an easy feat.
There is something unassuming about Puss n Boots No Fools, No Fun album, like this is a band that enjoys making music, and just happens to be supremely talented. If you think you might enjoy the sound, then you probably are right.