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Jesse Harris: Feel


Jesse Harris is one of the more underrated songwriters around in the last several years. In general his music is thoughtful and intriguing, but relatively obscure at a mainstream level. Instead, others who recognize his talent have covered his music with somewhat more success, including Pat Metheny, Madeleine Peyroux, Lizz Wright and of course Norah Jones' version of Harris' "I Don't Know Why" which became an instant classic and launched her career. Harris' latest album Feel, helps confirm that he's an artist of his own and not just creating blueprints for other musicians' careers.

Feel shares musical similarities and some of the same nostalgic writing found in his 2006 release, Mineral. However, there is a much more positive undertone to the music than before. Harris wrote that Feel contains a strong Brazilian influence. This may be partially responsible for the wide assortment of percussion that saturates the album. This addition adds more depth and flavor than typically found in Harris' music. The resulting brighter orchestration accompanies the record's lyrics quite well, which are more content and optimistic than in previous albums. Feel also boasts a roots-folk sound, losing some of the rock present in earlier Jessie Harris music with his band, the Fernandos. In general though, there's nothing particularly startling or new on Feel; instead, the album's merit comes from Harris's affinity for writing reflective, coffeehouse-styled catchy songs without compromising the musical quality.