“Something in your eyes
Makes me wanna lose myself…
Makes me wanna lose myself
In your arms.”
Songs have a life of their own. They can be covered by scores of artists before finding their true owner. While this is a subjective notion, most people would counter that the best version of a song is by its author. Randy Newman has been a prolific songwriter and performer for over forty years. His most popular songs have, in most cases, been taken to the pop charts by other artists to great effect. Unlike other performers, however, Newman’s style is unmistakable. From his classical-meets-bourbon street style piano playing to his blues-tinged vocals, Randy Newman would be an interesting interpreter of other writer’s material if he wasn’t so prolific. His work has appeared not only in the pop realm but also in the world of movie scores, where he has become one of the most sought after composers and score writers. Whatever setting he finds himself in, Randy Newman’s sound and style is unabashedly his own.
Splitting his childhood between New Orleans and Los Angeles, Randy Newman grew into a product of his influences. His family boasted several generations of classical musicians and film composers, while his time spent in New Orleans gave him a similar background to Crescent City pianist Dr. John. He started, as many writers do, penning hits for stars of the day, in this case Jerry Butler, Irma Thomas, The O Jays and Alan Price, among others. He also spent time in the sixties working as a session musician alongside other future star Leon Russell. Childhood friend Lenny Waronker, A&R for Warner Brothers Records, brought Newman into the Warner Brothers fold for a string of popular albums in the seventies and eighties, with hits ‘Short People’ and ‘I Love L.A.’ topping the charts. He began writing film scores and adding his pop songs to their soundtracks in this time period, as well, beginning with the film “Ragtime” in 1981. His success in both of these areas has created a diverse catalog of material unlike any other in popular music.
The song ‘Feels Like Home’ has had a long history. The original recording of it was sung by Bonnie Raitt on the soundtrack for the 1995 Randy Newman-penned Broadway play, “Randy Newman’s Faust”. The album was sung and performed by Newman himself, in addition to famed associates Raitt, Don Henley, James Taylor, among other luminaries. The accompanying play did not last long and it quickly faded from memory. ‘Feels Like Home’, however, went on to become an oft covered song many felt would become a radio hit. Chantal Kreviazuk had a minor single with the song, but the definitive version came from Newman himself in 2008 on his solo release “Harps and Angels”. “Harps and Angels” would be Newman’s first solo release since 1999’s “Bad Love”, his movie work keeping him extremely busy between projects. The album was produced by Mitchell Froom and longtime Newman collaborator Lenny Waronker. The tasteful production values and arrangements help to capture this defining portrait of a true classic song from the Randy Newman catalog.