Sheryl Crow - Feels Like Home

Warner Bros

I’m sure that there were many doubters when it was announced that Sheryl Crow was recording a ‘country’ album. Would it be a ‘jump-on-the-bandwagon’ cop-out? Well, after spending the past five years living in Nashville, and getting to know the singers and musicians, the simple answer is that this is no light-weight affair. She has totally immersed herself in what makes Nashville and country music tick. Rather than write all the songs herself, or just cover past country hits, she has taken the time to sit down with such Music Row tunesmiths as Leslie Satcher, Chris DuBois, Al Anderson, Chris Stapleton, Luke Laird, Natalie Hemby and Kelley Lovelace and create a stunning collection of songs that explore the usual country music subjects of romantic entanglements, family and social issues with rare and intelligent insight. 

The results range from the terse come-on of the album opener Shotgun to the lilting, country ode to the unreliable and inconsiderate lover in Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely.  She teamed up with Brad Paisley and Chris DuBois to pen the heartbreaking Waterproof Mascara. A mournful ballad of the pain of restarting life yet again and how it affects her child, this is classic country tear-jerker territory and Ms Crow seems not just able to fit in, but totally born to it. Initially, I had a knowing smile as Crazy Ain’t Original unfolded, but as the song develops you realise just how powerfully these lyrics really hit home with their biting indictment of the crazy world we live in these days. A modern-day Behind Closed Doors, is possibly the best way to describe Nobody’s Business. A funky arrangement and solid lyric about the joys of love that is meant to be makes this an enjoyable outing. You can’t help but sympathise with the woman who seems to spend so much of her life out on the road and in Homesick, she’s just as sick of her life at home now that her other half has left. Zac Brown adds distinctive harmonies to this superbly arranged track.

FEELS LIKE HOME is a work that’s both lucid and heartbreakingly lovely, a sonic landscape that roams a wide range of emotions. An album that is big and lush—yet finessed with restraint and space with soaring melodies, bell-clear vocals and heart-penetrating lyrics that are reassuringly in place. A modern Nashville-produced country album that grows in stature with each subsequent listen.
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