Friends and Fun and Folk
There’s a certain inescapable charm about Puss n Boots, the three person alternative country outfit from Brooklyn, New York comprised of Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper and Norah Jones. For starters, the story of the group’s inception itself has a certain excitement to it. Jones, with the help of friend and collaborator Dobson, started booking small gigs around Brooklyn as a means of learning how to play the guitar before a live audience. As both artists began to master the six string and sound like a cohesive unit, they incorporated Popper into their set, and eventually the three decided the next logical step was to record an album. The end process of this creative learning process is No Fools, No Fun, their debut out on Blue Note Records.
Even disregarding the story of Puss n Boots, which frames the band within an amateur context, the women of this group are not messing around, and Fools stands as one of the best alternative country releases of 2014 thus far. The cohesiveness of the group, which stems from numerous collaborations between members over the years, translates beautifully on Fools, primarily in the group’s gorgeous harmonies. We know that Puss n Boots is a project that stems primarily from live performance because the live recordings of songs “Tarnished Angel” and “Down by the River” (both recorded in The Bell House venue of Brooklyn) belie an electric live synergy that resonates throughout the entire record. Additionally, the minimal nature of the tracks, which are mainly comprised of a couple guitars, light percussion and aforementioned vocals, give the whole release a lighthearted but nonetheless exciting sound. And while No Fools, No Fun is a seemingly random collection of studio recordings, live performances, new renditions of older songs by the band’s members and covers of other folk and country bands, the entire release flows extraordinarily well.
All in all, the record stands as it was created: the byproduct of the company of friends mixed with ingenuity and new steps in artistry. Fools is a fun, ebullient but ultimately well-made release from start to finish by three exceptionally talented musicians. Here’s hoping the good times continue between Jones, Dobson and Popper for years to come and that their friendship inspires more projects and releases like this one.