Personnel: Karen Akers (vocals); Don Rebic (piano).
Recorded at The Premises Studios, London, England between June 27 and July 1, 2000. Includes liner notes by Karen Akers.
Karen Akers' seventh album, Feels Like Home, will please her longtime fans, but it is unlikely to win her new ones. Recording in England under the auspices of her husband, Kevin Power, as producer, Akers uses only piano accompaniment by Don Rebic on a selection of songs that, while not entirely sung in French as on her Under Paris Skies, heavily emphasizes her affection for the country in which she lives as an expatriate resident. "I'm Not Afraid," the leadoff track, has the same music as the song known as "Sons Of..." when it appeared in the musical revue Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, though here it uses a Rod McKuen lyric. Another song from that show's score, "Marieke," sung in English, French, and Flemish, turns up later on the album. "Drouot" and "L'Aigle Noir," both sung in French, are songs written by and associated with the French singer Barbara, and if the listener is unfamiliar with her, there are several other songs better known in versions by better known singers. The title song, written by Randy Newman, has been done previously by Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt. "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," which Akers is here presenting for the second time in her discography (it was also on her last album, Live from Rainbow & Stars), remains Edith Piaf's signature song. And the closing track, "The Rose" (inexplicably billed on the back cover as a "special bonus track"), was written and sung by Amanda McBroom, though it is most closely associated with Bette Midler, who sang it in the movie of the same name. It would be nice to say that Akers brings something to these songs to make you forget the earlier renditions, but though she certainly does them well, that is not the case. She seems to have pleased herself on this album, and her fans will be happy to hear her sing anything. But this is not one of her more accessible or more individual collections. ~ William Ruhlmann