“From Me to You” by Guitar Legend Mark Newman
In a virtuosic fashion, the first few strands of “From Me to You” are pieced together for us by the cool hand of Mark Newman, whose masterful string play will make up nearly one-half of the magic in this all-new single. Before Newman’s voice has the chance to inject the track with the other half, the instrumental introduction to the song gets us started on an exotic path that will only grow more insular and homey as we press on. There’s a mood here that’s yet to reveal itself to us, but already it’s far too strong for even the most discriminating of audiophiles to push back against. “From Me to You” is hypnotic in the stealthiest of ways, and its clandestine charms immediately distinguish its creator from his competition in 2021.
The lyrics and music to this song were originally brought to life by Janis Ian, but if you didn’t know that prior you’d probably be thinking this was Newman’s own creation just based on the emotion he has behind the microphone. While the strings dance in the background and produce the most incredible of melodies with which our singer is ready to harmonize, it’s his vocal that is endearing them to us with a poetic drawl more natural than anything else here. He’s putting everything on the line in the chorus, from his heart to the rib cage encasing it, but there isn’t even the slightest bit of hesitation in his execution. Impressed is one thing; I’m actually quite moved by what I hear in this single.
Instrumentation conveys the deepest element of moodiness in “From Me to You,” but it’s always carefully controlled by the parameters set forth by Newman’s verse. He articulates the beat with his singing as opposed to relying on a percussive entity to form the rhythm for his harmony, and while that might sound textbook on paper, it’s a lot more sophisticated a task when you’re actually trying to make it happen inside the studio. Again, we never see this guy sweat – he’s frank, upbeat and direct in his actions from beginning to end, lending additional charisma to the narrative through the swagger of his performance. That’s the right way to make a cover, not to mention a fantastic means of making any music feel like your own.
Most covers fail to capture the kind of authenticity we find in Mark Newman’s lustful rendition of “From Me to You” not for lack of effort on the part of an artist, but rather for an inability to embody the spirit of the song itself. That isn’t a problem for Newman here at all – in fact, the polar opposite. He puts so much of himself into this music that there are moments where the line between his story and Janis Ian’s is unartfully blurred (though I should note this seems entirely intentional). We’re at home with the man and the musician in this song, only telling where one ends and the other begins is really up to the listener’s personal analysis.