Phony Ppl released an album full of jams last fall when they dropped Euphonyus this past November. Since then, the Brooklyn natives have been rocking stages in support of the set. They happened to find some time for the Recording Academy on their busy schedule, though, and decided to sit in for their Reimagined series, on which current artists reinterpret GRAMMY-winning songs of the past. The quintet chose an unlikely cut for them, opting for the mellow sounds of Norah Jones’ 2002 stunner “Don’t Know Why.”
“Don’t Know Why” and her album Come Away With Me led to Norah nearly sweeping the big four awards in 2003, with her coming away with Album Of The Year, Best New Artist and Record Of The Year. The song was a simple-yet-disarming gem originally written and performed by Jesse Harris that became instant gold in her hands. The Phonies don’t do much to change the song’s structure in their session, keeping the dreamy guitar chords and lovelorn feel that made the original seem so timeless. However, they do their best to R&B-ify its sound to better suit their sensibilities.
The bulk of that work is done by Elbee Thrie’s vocal here. His tenor rasp changes the texture of the lyrics in an interesting way. He also makes unique choices in his phrasing, dropping some notes down the scale while extending and clipping others that switch the song’s rhythms in a way that brings in a bit of a sway to its feel. This mixed with the band’s incorporation of jazz rhythms and melodies in the middle section and latter half make this a competent cover that shows just how versatile Phony Ppl can be.
The Recording Academy’s Reimagined series has boasted its fair share of stars covering an array of songs from different genres. However, we’re highly impressed by what Phony Ppl has done here as it makes us see them in a whole new light. Watch their take on “Don’t Know Why” when you press play below.