Sun, 03 Aug 2003

It sounds like John Mayer meets Norah Jones, but it's pretty compelling nonetheless.

Harris is the person responsible for the success of Jones' hit Don't Know Why as he wrote it, as well as four other songs on her multimillion-selling debut album Come Away With Me. The hit earned him a Grammy Award this year for Song of the Year, beating Bruce Springsteen in the category.

The Secret Sun is a debut album for Jesse Harris and The Ferdinandos, but actually their fourth if we count three previous indie albums.

In a way, it is similar to Come Away With Me, except that while Come is piano-based, this record is acoustic-guitar based pop. It gives a similar soothing and tranquil atmosphere but not boring, with its folky textures and jazz inflected sounds.

The music is simple, yet eloquent and organic, with its largely acoustic arrangements.In The Other Road, however, The Ferdinandos' Tony Scherr manages to highlight a pretty dark number with Santana-esque guitar playing.

Jones plays homage to her songwriter here, lending her vocal and piano playing skills on What Makes You and If You Won't.

Some musicians say it is actually more difficult to write simple songs. Harris is lucky to have the ability to make good ones. -- Hera Diani