Saturday Night: Norah Jones at Bayou Music Center

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Photos by Altamese Osborne
Norah Jones, Richard Julian
Bayou Music Center
October 20, 2012

"Miriam/ That's such a pretty name/ I'm gonna say it when/ I make you cry."

-- Norah Jones

Despite its name, Norah Jones' newest album, Little Broken Hearts, is a mild departure from her melancholy debut, Come Away With Me. That's the album whose single, "Don't Know Why," catapulted her into the hearts of hopeless romantics everywhere and won her a mess of Grammy Awards in 2003. Even the new album cover shows her in a different light, with a choppy bob's defiance to her first album's cascading curls.

In the same vein, Jones' performance at Bayou Music Center Saturday night was a mild departure from her usually moody, piano-driven concerts. Not to say that the folk-pop singer abandoned acoustics completely, but she added an element only devoted fans know that she is capable of: A stand-up performance, with electric guitar and piano strum-tinkling that transformed her Saturday set from what we expected -- a night of sad-sack songs -- into a pretty upbeat evening of music and comedy, starting with Jones' opener, Richard Julian.

If Jones is acoustics personified, Julian is acoustics purified. Armed with only a piano, a guitar and a single spotlight shining into his face, Julian commanded audience attention with a folksy triangulation of minor chords, jokes and anecdotal songs, mostly about him and his wife.

"Not Leaving New Orleans" was a funny story about his and the missus' two-year stay in Houston's Southern neighbor, while "You're Only Gonna Die" was a morbid yet realistic reinterpretation of the "YOLO" phenomenon currently traveling around the Web.

"It's the feel-good movie of the year," he said of the song, "and it's in a minor key, so I know you're going to love it."

"This song is dedicated to the wonderful people I met at the UPS office today," said Julian of "End of the Line," a non-rhyming piece that was more talk than anything else.

After an opening reprise of another song from her debut, "Cold, Cold Heart," Jones spent a good portion of the concert promoting Little Broken Hearts, a much mouthier effort than her previous collections. As for decoration, the stage was festooned with drop-down origami birds, which we admit was a bit confusing, seeing as how the album's theme revolves around hearts, but as the new and improved Jones evolves, so does her taste for experimentation.


Location Info

Map

Bayou Music Center

520 Texas Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Music


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2 comments
MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Good review, Ms. Osborne. Sorry I missed the show more after reading your account.

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