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Norah Jones

Not Too Late

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Nestled comfortably in an Americana mix of folk, jazz and country, Norah Jones plumbs new depths in Not Too Late, her third CD and her biggest statement to date as a songwriter. The result is a surprisingly thematic mix from someone so perfect but breezy on her breakthrough debut. Without succumbing to the full-on twang of 2004's Feels Like Home, this disc departs from the expected. On several tracks, Jones' piano takes a back seat as she, her group and songwriting partner/bassist Lee Alexander reach for different atmospheres composed of guitar, strings and even a muted trombone solo for the New Orleans-tinged "Sinking Soon." The exploration works best on the awesome and slightly creepy "Not My Friend," where she lets you know that "you found the place no one should ever go." Many of the remaining tracks aren't as intriguing, with the big exceptions of "Wish I Could" and "Thinking About You," a great love song on Wurlitzer that serves to remind any doubters why she is -- as her press materials dubiously point out -- the best-selling female artist so far this century. 3 stars.

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