Jesse Harris Feel

Although Harris is best known as the composer of Norah Jones’ breakthrough hit "Don’t Know Why,” his work last year on the soundtrack to Ethan Hawke’s film The Hottest State solidified his reputation as a master songwriting craftsman. Feel is sure to enhance that image, as its 14 tracks are perfect examples of contemporary urban folk: warm and unpretentious but with enough nostalgia to tug at the heartstrings of any modern 30-something. The lack of any obvious edge will certainly be a drawback to some listeners — Harris’s primary touchstone is clearly Paul Simon, rather than Bob Dylan — but there’s no denying that each of these small gems is instantly likeable. "I Don’t Mind” and "Where To Start” are the most obvious examples of Harris’s skills at combining simple sentiments with undeniably affecting melodies, providing little wonder why others like Jones have found so much to mine from his material. There still seems to be some kind of missing emotional ingredient to establish Feel as a true work of greatness but fans of high quality songwriting should find this album endlessly enjoyable. (Velour/Decca)