The upside to debuting a new album's worth of breakup songs at South By Southwest? If you're Norah Jones, it earns you a lot of anxious potential suitors.
"A date?" she said in response to one male fan halfway through her Saturday night showcase at La Zona Rosa. "No, I'm taken…Actually, I'm busy. I have like 20 bands to go see tonight. Don't you?"
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Later, when she announced she would play her "new single," several men in the crowd shouted, "I'm single, too!" prompting Jones to scan the audience with mock interest. "Are you attractive?"
Such an outpouring of requests should come as a bit of a relief to Jones, who details what was clearly one messy breakup on new album "Little Broken Hearts," out May 1. Playing the entire 12-track album in sequence, Jones outlines vignettes that include being dumped for a younger woman ("She's 22"), cheating from both parties ("4 Broken Hearts"), confrontation with a new girlfriend ("Miriam") and even a few drug metaphors (lead single "Happy Pills.") The Danger Mouse-produced set was reportedly inspired by Jones' breakup with a fiction-writer boyfriend, and several of the songs' sessions pre-dated Jones' work on another Danger Mouse project, 2011's "Rome" with Daniele Luppi.
Despite the songs' decidedly somber tone (only two songs - "Happy Pills" and the shuffling country tune On The Road" - could be considered upbeat), Jones was met with a warm reception. "You guys are really great. It's a little scary sharing new things with new people, but we're all friends, right?"
The guest list-free showcase was the second of two Jones performances at SXSW, following her gig with side project The Little Willies Thursday night at Antone's.