Jesse Harris

Feel

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Jesse Harris' seventh album, Feel, arrived at a major moment in his career: less than a month after its release, the soundtrack to The Hottest State, the Ethan Hawke film for which he wrote all the music, also came out. Because the soundtrack included performances by such notables as Emmylou Harris, Feist, Willie Nelson, and Bright Eyes, it solidified Harris' reputation as a songwriting it-boy. But if Feel had secured the kind of attention The Hottest State or that other noteworthy album Harris wrote a lot of songs for -- Norah Jones' Come Away with Me -- on its own, no further solidification of it-ness would have been necessary. The songs on Feel coax you into doing just that, and fully; a little thinking might happen along the way, too. As a performer, Harris, who comes off as a faded-jeans, neurosis-free kind of guy, is intimate, though not always in the quiet way usually associated with the word. And musically, he blends folk, rock, jazz, and world rhythms into a sophisticated but familiar-sounding brew. Highlights on a record that will be remembered for its light touch and unerringly human lyrics include the rousing title track, the elegant "You and Me," and the playful "Walk On."

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