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Natural Kitten

Here's a true story. A few years ago, I participated in Opening Bell Coffee's "Dallas Does the Music of James Taylor and Carole King." We sang a couple of songs from Tapestry, including "I Feel the Earth Move," and "Natural Woman." For some reason we had to do some rehearsing at my in-laws' house, so we took to the guest house, where my brother-in-law and his cat (named Cat) live, and began to practice. I do "Natural Woman" in the Aretha key, not the Carole King key, so there is a fairly high, repeated note on every "you" of "You make me feel." And for Cat, at least, that note was a magic, feline-charming note.

What you have to understand is that Cat remains rather unimpressed most of the time. Two things make her excited: my brother-in-law and a particular brand of catnip-laced toy mice. She ignores everything and everyone else. But every time I sang "YOU make me feel," her ears would perk up, she'd sit up, and stare at me in awe. Then, in an unrepeatable moment that was, sadly, not caught on camera, I got to the bridge, where I belted out, "you make me feel so a-LI-I-I-VE" and Cat jumped from her perch and ran straight into my outstretched arms.

I chose this song for my "Undercover Summer" series because Carole King is one of the most important songwriters of the last century, because I was raised on her feel-good hits from the sixties, and because when we were choosing a place to record our new album, we used Tapestry as the example for how we wanted our album to sound. The studio we chose, The Cozy Ark, did not disappoint in giving us gorgeous, warm, vintage tones and in encouraging a relaxed, intimate, demo feel for our record. I even got to track vocals with the same kind of microphone Carole King used!


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