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Pop - Released July 15, 2014 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Puss N Boots began performing in N.Y.C. nightclubs in 2008 but didn't deliver their debut, No Fools, No Fun, until the summer of 2014 -- a pretty good indication that this group was intended as something of a lark. All three musicians -- Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper, and Norah Jones -- keep themselves busy with solo day jobs that range from in-demand supporting musicians to full-time superstars, but Puss N Boots affords the trio an opportunity to indulge in their shared love of country and other pieces of ramshackle Americana. Jones has another part-time country band, but where she's the frontwoman for the Little Willies, Puss N Boots is decidedly a collaborative affair, finding Jones, Dobson, and Popper harmonizing and trading leads, often within the course of a song. The group follows no straight path and neither does No Fools, No Fun. It's half covers, half originals, part live and part studio, the different parts sitting side by side, adding up to a curious record whose raggedness feels like a statement of purpose. Puss N Boots celebrates the moments that don't add up, the places where the present blurs with the past, delivering songs with a sly wink that camouflages a teary eye. No Fools, No Fun is never rowdy -- the closest it comes is the train-track beat of Jones' original "Don't Know What It Means" -- but there's an earthiness to the trio's chemistry that signals how deeply the group members know each other's strengths and weaknesses. This is where Puss N Boots' long history of woodshedding pays off: far from sounding like a busman's holiday, there's a shared past that's evident in every moment of this debut, and that natural, relaxed camaraderie is the reason why No Fools, No Fun is such an appealing listen. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Ambiance - Released October 25, 2019 | Blue Note Records

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Pop - Released July 15, 2014 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Ambiance - Released October 25, 2019 | Blue Note Records

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Ever since their inception in 2008, Puss N Boots have been more of a live band than a studio concern. They'd play regularly, particularly in Brooklyn, prior to their 2014 debut No Fools, No Fun, and they continued to gig sporadically over the next five years, settling into a regular Puss N Boots Christmas Extravaganza in Williamsburg around 2016. That show is the inspiration for 2019's Dear Santa…, an EP that's the trio's first recording in five years. Warm, funny, and a bit sexy, Dear Santa… doesn't take the holidays too seriously, yet certainly uses the season as a reason to have a good time. Sometimes, the trio's humor is blue, as it is on the cheerfully profane, even blasphemous "Christmas Butt," where Catherine Popper sings "eat sh**, commercial smut/today is Santa's birthday." That's the goofiest moment on the EP, but Puss N Boots conjure a woozy charm on their dreamy barroom rendition of "Silent Night." Still, the heart of Dear Santa… lies in the loping country tune "Christmas All Over Again," the ragged crawl of "The Great Romancer," and especially the romantic "It's Not Christmas 'Til You Come Home," tunes which capture the sophisticated yet simple charms of Puss N Boots and the good cheer of the season. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released October 18, 2019 | Blue Note Records

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Ambiance - Released October 11, 2019 | Blue Note Records

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Ambiance - Released October 25, 2019 | Blue Note Records

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Ambiance - Released October 11, 2019 | Blue Note Records

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Pop - Released October 18, 2019 | Blue Note Records

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Ambiance - Released October 25, 2019 | Blue Note Records