For Puss n Boots, the alt’s all in the mix

Puss n Boots performing at Coney Island Baby on Jan. 15, from left, Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper. Photos by Bob Krasner

BY BOB KRASNER | The band Puss n Boots packed the house with a surprise show last week at Coney Island Baby, a new East Village bar that already feels like it’s always been there.

The “alt country” trio includes Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper and Norah Jones. All three traded lead vocals, inside jokes and musical styles, as well as instruments, in their two-hour mix of originals and covers at the bar, at 169 Avenue A at E. 11th St.

Country music was the starting point, but they covered the bases with forays into garage rock and even a spacey jam-band instrumental, having as good a time performing as the audience did listening.

Puss n Boots’ Norah Jones performing at Coney Island Baby.

Dobson, Popper and Jones all contributed their own tunes — mixing them in with covers of Tom Paxton, Neil Young, Tom Petty and others. They took time in between to check their notes on the new songs and joke around while rearranging themselves on stage. Popper moved from bass to guitar, Jones would switch to drums, and Dobson went back and forth between drums and guitar.

“It’s a game we play,” Popper explained. “It’s called ‘musical instruments!’”

While the Grammy Award-winning Jones may be the most recognizable name in the group, she’s not the leader. You could call the band a democracy, but Dobson doesn’t like the sound of that.

“Our music isn’t political,” she explained later. “The part that’s astounding about this band is the multiple roles we all play. It is never really a matter of juggling power — more so colors. And it’s a different canvas for every song.”

Puss n Boots’ Catherine Popper.

Dobson mused on the “egoless” nature of the trio.

“It’s 100 percent about the moment, the song,” she said, “and creating as many different ways or options to serve that tune.”

You can catch Puss n Boots at City Winery on Feb. 18. For more information about the band, visit pussnbootsmusic.com .

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