Puss N Boots – No Fools, No Fun (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 42:15 minutes | 456 MB | Genre: Country, Blues
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Blue Note
Alt-country trio Puss N Boots was formed by superstar Norah Jones with jazz singer Sasha Dobson and session musician Catherine Popper in 2008; it took them six years to get around to making this debut. Recorded in Brooklyn, No Fools, No Fun includes five original songs, two each from Dobson and Popper and one from Jones who plays guitar here, not piano. There are also seven spirited cover tunes, all culled from the trio’s live repertoire. The studio tracks were recorded in three days while three live songs come from a performance in June 2013 at a small club in Brooklyn called The Bell House.
Puss N Boots began performing in N.Y.C. nightclubs in 2008 but didn’t deliver their debut, No Fools, No Fun, until the summer of 2014 – a pretty good indication that this group was intended as something of a lark. All three musicians – Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper, and Norah Jones – keep themselves busy with solo day jobs that range from in-demand supporting musicians to full-time superstars, but Puss N Boots affords the trio an opportunity to indulge in their shared love of country and other pieces of ramshackle Americana. Jones has another part-time country band, but where she’s the frontwoman for the Little Willies, Puss N Boots is decidedly a collaborative affair, finding Jones, Dobson, and Popper harmonizing and trading leads, often within the course of a song. The group follows no straight path and neither does No Fools, No Fun. It’s half covers, half originals, part live and part studio, the different parts sitting side by side, adding up to a curious record whose raggedness feels like a statement of purpose. Puss N Boots celebrates the moments that don’t add up, the places where the present blurs with the past, delivering songs with a sly wink that camouflages a teary eye. No Fools, No Fun is never rowdy – the closest it comes is the train-track beat of Jones’ original “Don’t Know What It Means” – but there’s an earthiness to the trio’s chemistry that signals how deeply the group members know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This is where Puss N Boots’ long history of woodshedding pays off: far from sounding like a busman’s holiday, there’s a shared past that’s evident in every moment of this debut, and that natural, relaxed camaraderie is the reason why No Fools, No Fun is such an appealing listen.
01 – Leaving London
02 – Bull Rider (Live From The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY / 2013)
03 – Twilight
04 – Sex Degrees Of Separation
05 – Don’t Know What It Means
06 – Down By The River (Live From The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY / 2013)
07 – Tarnished Angel (Live From The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY / 2013)
08 – Jesus, Etc.
09 – Always
10 – GTO
11 – Pines
12 – You’ll Forget Me
Norah Jones – vocals, electric guitar, fiddle
Sasha Dobson – vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, drums
Catherine Popper – vocals, bass, acoustic guitar