For her current as-yet-untitled and unsigned project of covers, Rickie Lee Jones has tapped standout sidemen, including Ben Folds on piano and John Pizzarelli on guitar.
When Jones' self-titled debut album on Warner Bros. won her a Grammy in 1979 for Best New Artist, she was heralded as the new Joni Mitchell for her oblique song styling and fusion of pop, jazz and roots music in the songs she wrote herself.
In the years since, the singer of "Chuck E.'s in Love" (RealAudio excerpt) has explored roots and rock on albums ranging from 1981's stark Pirates (RealAudio excerpt of title track) to the introspective Traffic From Paradise (1993).
Even as Mitchell has done of late, Jones now tends more toward jazz and pop flavors in her work. For this collection, she's picked songs by the Beatles ("For No One"), the Gershwins ("Someone to Watch Over Me") and Lerner and Loewe ("On the Street Where You Live"), as well as Steely Dan ("Showbiz Kids"), Traffic and Charlie Chaplin, to show off her breathy, slurred soprano and impeccable taste for
Reports on Jones' Web site (rickieleejones.com) say labels are in a bidding war over the project.
With the recording finished, Jones plans to kick off a summer of touring with a June 23 concert in Seattle, near her Washington home. She'll then head for dates across Canada, followed by a European stint including shows in France, Germany, Denmark, Norway and the British Isles, concluding with a July 31 concert in Dublin, Ireland.