Tonight: Norah Jones at the Paramount, Catie Curtis at the Tractor

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Norah Jones, with Sasha Dobson. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 877-STG-4TIX. 8 p.m. $46.50-$57. Insta-fame is a funny thing. Had Norah Jones not sold a bazillion copies of 2002's Come Away With Me to moms and uncles via Blue Note Records--known for issuing some of the finest jazz of the '40s and '50s--we'd be having a completely different conversation about Ms. Jones. There wouldn't have been the predictable adult-contemporary backlash from the indie set, and she wouldn't have provoked the ire of purists who thought she was trying to ape jazz. Her new record, The Fall, would be judged sans baggage, and like it should be: as the latest installment from a honey-voiced chanteuse with a knack for writing--and picking--witty pop songs that may not break new ground or change lives, but are above average and contempt in every way. CHRIS KORNELIS

Catie Curtis, with Ali Marcus. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 7 p.m. $18. Over the twenty-odd years of her career, Catie Curtis has shifted focus from her origins in the coffee house neo-folk scene of the mid-90's, subtly inflecting her songwriting with an array of classical, pop, soul, and even funk influences. Amazingly, Curtis made the transition from politically charged pseudo-hippie to flexible adult contemporary songstress without shedding any of her credibility or fanbase. The tie that binds Curtis' evolving career is an uncanny ear for melody, consistently capturing sounds that simply sound good. As proof, take 2009's Hello Stranger. Spinning her extensive back-catalogue through a treatment of string-band arrangements, Curtis recontextualizes her legacy, coming away with songs that bear repeated listens. NICHOLAS HALL

 
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