NORAH JONES RECORDING SESSIONS HISTORY: May – June 1999
Sony Music Studios (Demo Studio),
Band members: Norah Jones (piano, vocals), Jesse Harris (guitar), Lee Alexander (bass)
Notes: Freshly arrived from
Harris had been in a tight spot as of late—Nathaniel Krenkel from Sony/ATV Publishing notes that prior to
running into Norah again, Jesse had pitched his songs
to established artists, tried to break into
Krenkel accompanied Norah, Lee and Jesse to Sony’s Demo Studio (which Krenkel states Harris had access to via his deal) and the trio cut “a stack” of Harris’ songs with Norah on vocals, Jesse on guitar, and Lee on bass (3).
“All Day Long I’ve Been Crying,” “World of Trouble,” “Holding On,” “One Flight Down,” and “High on a Hill” were all revealed to be on this demo on the basis of a source we contacted that had heard it. The rest of the tracks were all part of the same package submitted to BMI. Notable in this collection is “The Long Day Is Over,” one of Jones’ first properly recorded tracks that gave her songwriting credits. Also notable is the appearance of “What Makes You,” which confirms Harris’ assertion in a 2003 NPR interview that the song was a few years old and was a staple of the band in its early days.
“All Day Long I’ve Been Crying,” was released by Harris’ former collaborator Rebecca Martin on her solo debut around the same time this demo was recorded—Harris and Martin used to play together in a band called Once Blue. As for the remaining songs, thirteen would go on to be re-recorded and see release by either Jones or Harris—or in some cases, both—while “Right Beside You,” “Hard To See,” “I Miss The Sky” and “The Only Time” would not be released in any shape or form. However, we do note that “The Only Time” was attempted again at the October 2000 recording session that gave rise to Norah’s debut EP. It is possible that more tracks were recorded but there is no evidence to support this.
Placing a hard and fast date on the recording of this demo is a challenge. The Ferdinandos released their self-titled debut album on July 6, 1999. Norah came to NY in May. BMI records indicate that the Ferdinandos album was recorded after this session, so it is most likely that this session was recorded in the last week of May or the first few weeks of June, with the Ferdinandos session following a few days afterwards.
"Everyone loved the demo,” says Alexander, "so we started playing gigs as a trio.” On the strength of this session, Harris was able to begin booking the band at the Living Room.
Krenkel, who had signed Harris to his initial
publishing deal, noted that the demo quickly began to circulate around the
We would like to thank the individuals who were fortunate enough to hear this recording but no longer have access to it for the information. Please contact us at email@example.com if you have any information about or possess this demo.
2. Getting Signed!: An Insiders’ Guide to the Record Industry by George Howard—Pg. 138-139