“Feels Like Home may be the most focused album I’ve ever made,” Sheryl Crow says of her debut album for Warner Nashville, the label based in Music City where Crow choose to settle and raise her children years ago. “All of my albums have had a few different styles going on in them, and this album definitely has a few different takes on what country music means to me, but not calculatedly so. First and foremost, I just wanted to make sure that for this album I wrote about were things that I really knew about – subject that hit close to home.
Full of great storytelling and featuring some of the most powerful and heartfelt vocals of Crow’s career, Feels Like Home is literally an album that this proud daughter of Kennett, Missouri was born to make. “Country music is rightly suspicious of carpetbaggers who jump on a bandwagon, but in my case, this world in Nashville really does feel like home. I grew up three and a half hours from Nashville, and my parent just moved out of that home that I grew up in recently. So I grew up in a community that was all farmland and churches and school and a town square. So country is where I come from, and that’s the kind of life I wanted to give my kids, and you can find that sort of life here in Nashville. Even though Nashville has so much more to offer, there is still a small town feel that I love.
Indeed, it was a friendly conversation with one Nashville neighbor by the name of Brad Paisley that set Crow on the course to start work on Feels Like Home. “I had a lot of trepidation about trying too hard to make an album within the country format. Because I do love it, and between my friends in Kansas City, and California and even New York, it is what anyone who wants to hear songs, and wants to hear guitar solos and storytelling basically listens to now. But over the years, I’ve seen lots of artists try to make this transition and it hasn’t to me gone well or felt natural or real to me, and the only way I wanted to do this was authentically. Brad instantly understood how to approach this. He said, `Let’s just do what you do. Bring your influences with you. Just turn your vocal up and make your stories a little more concise and you’re already there.’ That realization that I already was at home here is really the reason this album ended up being made.”
This is not Sheryl Crow’s first musical rodeo. She is, after all, a nine-time Grammy Award winner who has sold more than 50 million albums around the world. Still, Feels Like Home captures the sound of a great and established artist enjoying a kind of fresh start. Feels Like Home really got started with Crow, Paisley and Chris DuBois -- one his frequent collaborators – penning one of the albums’ standout tracks “Waterproof Mascara,” a stunning song that recalls classics by some of country’s greatest female vocalists like Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, the latter of whom Crow sang with, along with friend Miranda Lambert on the CMA Awards in 2011.
Crow also credits her co-producer Justin Niebank as a key collaborator on Feels Like Home. “After a little false start, I was asking around for a great engineer, and Vince Gill told me Justin was the man for the job, and he was right. And after a few days, I realized that he was more than just a great engineer, but a real partner in producing this album.
For Crow, making her first album for a Nashville label is an experience she won’t forget. “It was amazing to be making an album in my community, and have my life still be my primary inspiration,” she says. “I was still driving my kids to school in the morning, and doing mommy things in-between sessions. Having a structured time to work, and being able to work at my house, everything about this just felt very loving and homey. Like the title says, it just felt like home.”