By Brian Ives
We’re at Hill Country, a Texas-themed barbecue joint in downtown New York City, where Puss n Boots have actually performed before. Beyond the sentimental value, I spoke to them in the late afternoon, after a long day of interviews. They were ready to unwind from the day and have a drink: a beer for Norah and Sasha; Catherine stuck with water.
The last time I sat down with Norah Jones was a little over a decade ago, the day that she released Feels Like Home, the follow-up to one of the most successful debut albums of all time, 2002’s Come Away With Me. We talked a lot about the Band — Levon Helm and Garth Hudson guested on her new album — and how it would be difficult to follow-up the insane success of her debut, but she seemed okay with that. After the interview, she played a show with the Little Willies, a small side-project that at the time did mainly Willie Nelson covers. She wasn’t the leader of the band; just one of the singers who played piano. She seemed at least as excited about that show at a small Brooklyn bar as the fact that she was releasing one of the most anticipated albums of the year on that very day.
Ten years later Jones reveled in not being the sole focus of this project, quick to point out that she loves the songs written by her bandmates. Just like last time, we talked a lot about the Band. And again, Jones and her band would leave the interview to play a show at a venue far smaller than Jones could play on her own. The big difference between now and 10 years ago seems to be, there’s less expectation to match the runaway success of Come Away With Me, and more time to bask the joy of Puss N Boots. Meanwhile, hopefully this project will expose more people to Dobson’s writing, and maybe even encourage Popper to write a bit more.