Little Windows, the first collaborative album from singer-songwriters Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones, packs a whole career’s worth of sparkling pop gems and sobering country ballads into a collection that runs just short of 26 minutes. What’s more remarkable, however, is that the LP represents a relatively new partnership, and every one of the songs is original to the project, although any of the album’s 10 tracks could be mistaken for some long-lost sonic nugget from the Fifties or Sixties.
The album was conceived and written by Thompson and Jones with Nashville musician, songwriter and music journalist Bill DeMain and executed with such precision and chemistry that it’s further surprising to learn that Thompson and Jones have only known each other a short time.
Jones, who was raised on a horse farm in Ridgefield, Washington, is perhaps best known for SheBANG!, her critically acclaimed 2010 power-pop LP. She first heard Thompson, the son of British folk-rock icons Richard and Linda Thompson, in 2011 singing live on Los Angeles radio station KCRW and met him not long after. With a strong sense that they would sing well together, Jones suggested just that. A few months later they were on stage in L.A. harmonizing on a George Jones classic. Not long after testing the waters with their first successful co-writes, they began work on what would become Little Windows, with a deceptively simple goal in mind.
“We wanted to write an album of timeless songs with universal themes,” Thompson tells Rolling Stone Country. “Songs that could stand next to those of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant or Doc Pomus. Songs that can be sung alone at a piano or with a band or maybe even with an orchestra. I think we succeeded.”
When it came time to record the tracks, they took further cues from the old masters, going live-to-tape with a small group of studio musicians and finishing the entire project in just four days.
Although decisive about the methodology with which they crafted the LP, the first single from Little Windows is “I Thought That We Said Goodbye,” which chronicles a couple’s inability to put a period at the end of their sentence together. “It’s one of my favorites,” Thompson says of the gentle, heartbreaking ballad. “The title speaks for itself I think. The track is one live take of just Kelly and I. It needed no adornment.”
Since his brilliant self-titled debut LP in 2000, Thompson has frequently dabbled in country music, enlisting Emmylou Harris to harmonize with him on that album. In 2007, he released a sterling collection of country covers, Upfront & Down Low, which included his versions of songs that originated with Dolly Parton, Ernest Tubb, Merle Haggard, George Jones and more. His spine-chilling cover of the deliciously twisted “Psycho,” penned by early country star Leon Payne, was featured on the soundtrack of that film’s 1998 remake.
Little Windows will be released April 1st.