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Call her Norah II

Twentythree
Twentythree
By Tristan Prettyman

Virgin Records: 2005

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This review first appeared in Turbula in July 2005.

Ever since Mr. Edison invented his sound machine, popular music has gone in cycles. What with the tens of millions of albums singer Norah Jones has sold, it's no surprise that the labels are signing every gal who sounds even a little like Jones.

Now, maybe this isn't fair – but the above is the first reaction that comes to mind while listening to the debut album from Del Mar's Tristan Prettyman. Her singing style is quite similar to that of Jones – a relaxed, slightly nasal and almost-whispered style that is personal, personable and intimate. Just not particularly individualistic.

The first single from the album, "Love Love Love," is even in the style of Jones' second album, "Feels Like Home" – a sort of jazzy folk that hearkens back to 1970s cult fave Joy of Cooking.

None of this is to suggest that this is a bad album; in fact, most of the songs are melodic and accessible. A duet with boyfriend Jason Mraz on "Shy That Way" is slyly charming; the above-mentioned "Love Love Love" is a pretty bit of pop.

It's just that the overall sound – from Prettyman's vocals to the arrangements and even song styles – is so reminiscent of Jones that it's impossible to avoid the comparisons.

On the other hand, all those tens of millions of listeners who already like Jones are equally likely to dig Prettyman.