NPR Song Of The Day: Jesse Harris, ‘You And Me’

Jesse Harris' Feel is out now.
Jesse Harris’ Feel is out now.

Most may recognize Jesse Harris’ name as one of the songwriters who co-wrote for Norah Jones’ runaway smash debut, but he’s also a fantastic songwriter in his own right. Harris also wrote all the songs for the the upcoming film “The Hottest State” based on a novel by Ethan Hawke. Many of his songs on the soundtrack are performed by the likes of Cat Power, M. Ward, Feist, Willie Nelson and so on.

Here’s my short piece on Jesse Harris’ song “You And Me” from his album Feel, for NPR’s Song of the Day. Check out the song here.

‘You and Me,’ Baring Jesse Harris’ Soul

‘You and Me’ by Jesse Harris (Feel)

Best known for the songs he’s written for others, Jesse Harris first found success with his contributions to Norah Jones’ debut album, Come Away with Me. But while he earned a Grammy for his work on the single “Don’t Know Why,” the singer, songwriter and guitarist has also built a reputation as a staple of New York’s East Village music scene. Between playing with his group The Ferdinandos and writing film scores, Harris sways casually between modern Americana and jazz-informed folk-pop in his solo material.

The new Feel sticks to a single laid-back tempo, driven by Harris’ lazy, loose-stringed strum and softly sung vocals. Yet his strengths lie in his songcraft. From the rhythmic, marimba-driven “Walk On” to the slow swing of “The Wind,” Harris’ songs demonstrate a devotion to concise melodies and song forms that leave little to waste.

Poppier than his usual sound, the country-tinged coffeehouse waltz “You And Me” follows a similar formula. Harris’ wistful croon sounds restrained and even pensive, yet the soul-baring mood fits with the straightforward atmosphere. Though it’s built around little more than a stripped-down guitar, bass, drums and violin, the sound seems fully realized. Harris’ voice touches upon a Paul Simon-like timbre, adding a simple but singable melody well suited for introspection.