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Keeping Up With the Jones

Norah Jones was relatively quiet in 2006. Next year, she'll release a new album--and star in a new movie. No kiddin'.

Haven't heard from hometown sweetheart Norah Jones in a while--unless you've been in a Starbucks in the last 23 minutes. (Oh, and I guess there was The Little Willies, which is still giving away its songs gratis for those who missed it the first time around. And there was that very brief foray into punk.) But next year, Jones promises to be, oh, everywhere.

Die-hards should go ahead and mark their calendars now: Blue Note Records announced today it'll release her third studio album, Not Too Late, on January 30. Not too much is being revealed about it, save for the fact Jones wrote or co-wrote all 13 songs on the disc, which was produced by Lee Alexander, Jones' songwriting partner and bassist. And while it includes pretty much everyone who's played with her in the past, it does have some interesting guests, among them Kronos Quartet cellist Jeff Ziegler and singer-songwriter M. Ward, who gives Jones some (much-needed?) back-porch indie cred. (Update: There's an Associated Press interview today with Jones, who says the album will also have...horns.)

Also, Jones will make her big-screen debut next year in the latest film from acclaimed Hong Kong director Kar Wai Wong (In the Mood for Love, Happy Together). It's called My Blueberry Nights, which sounds like a Jones song title, and it stars the likes of Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman and others, who're part of the cross-country journey Jones' character takes in what her Web site calls a "hip, romantic story which explores the sensual link between love and distance." It's in post-production now; it's due for a June 1, 2007, release. --Robert Wilonsky

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