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Judith Owen: Happy and at Home

Judith Owen pays tribute to some of her musical influences in her new album.
Judith Owen pays tribute to some of her musical influences in her new album.

Judith Owen has been compared to Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Norah Jones, Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones.

But for the Welsh-born vocalist-keyboardist, the eclectic comparisons simply reflect the colorful influences that have powered her musical career.

Her new album, Happy This Way, gives listeners hints of those influences – from theater music to classical and pop.

Early on in the album, Owen extends her gratitude to Nick Drake, the late British singer-songwriter who had an early and lasting influence on her career.

Owen, a California transplant, also reflects on her homeland, family and childhood memories. In the title song, Owen pays tribute to her mother who died when Owen was 15.

"My Father's Voice" is an early birthday present to her father, opera singer Handel Owen, who turns 80 later this year, and who, Owen says, used to sing depressing lullabies to her as a child.

Owen sat down with Weekend Edition Sunday host Liane Hansen to talk about her album, her musical style and of course her husband, actor-satirist Harry Shearer, who she met in the early 80s when he was in London filming This Is Spinal Tap.

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