It helps to make a good first impression — hence enjoyably bittersweet debut single "Don't Know Why" — but with a voice like Norah Jones's, success was inevitable. Airy without being insubstantial, warm and comforting as an old sweater and blessed with just the right amount of character, Jones's singing could make an accounting textbook sound fantastic. Thankfully, the songs on Come Away With Me are of a slightly higher caliber, as well as a surprising variety that should make folks think twice about filing Jones under "Jazz."
The originals, which comprise most of Come Away With Me, cover a large swath of ground, from the country shuffle of "Lonestar" to the adult-contemporary pop of "Feeling The Same Way." The choice of covers is equally expansive. While Jones expectedly dumps the honky-tonk vibe of Hank Williams's "Cold, Cold Heart" for some upright bass action, the amount of soul she musters in her take of JD Loudermilk's "Turn Me On" (made famous by Nina Simone) might surprise. And Jones's solo rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You" does right by this well-worn showtune standard, closing out this highlight-filled debut in style.