I might never have known about Jonah Smith if we hadn't walked into that square behind the church in Barcelona in September 2007. We assumed, not unreasonably, that the band sound-checking on the large outdoor stage was from Spain, and it took some time to realize that the words being sung were in English. The band was tight and the singer, playing a groovin' Rhodes piano, was great. Before we left I asked the sound guy who it was. "Jonah Smith from Brooklyn New York" he said.
Jonah hits on pretty much all of the qualities that I think a great songwriter and singer needs. And his band is one of the most empathetic I've seen - leaving lots of space for the best parts.
Here's a live vid of Jonah playing my current favourite song, "Little Black Angels". This is not the original arrangement, which I also recommend. I couldn't find a vid of "Stay a While", which is another favourite, but your instructions for today are to go and buy both of these tracks, now, on iTunes.