While Disney often relies on its string of pop divas for its soundtracks, the studio has always kept an open door to burgeoning talents from other labels. For its animated canine pic “Bolt,” about a TV dog searching for his female co-star, the Mouse House reached out to country rocker Jenny Lewis to pen and croon “Barking at the Moon.”
In the wake of her days as a child actress in such pics as 1998’s “Pleasantville,” Lewis turned to music, performing as a frontwoman for band Rilo Kiley and then segueing to solo work, most recently with her Warner Bros. album “Acid Tongue.” Lewis’ trademark is her honeyed soprano — often likened to that of Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton — which she punctuates on “Barking” with “woo-hoo” puppy howls.
“It’s kind of a love song from a dog’s perspective: singing to his owner and his new friend,” says Lewis about the fast-strummed country ditty that plays as Bolt is returning to Los Angeles.
While “Barking” marks the first time Lewis has written a track specifically for a movie, the process, though different from what she’s used to, wasn’t daunting.
“After being invited to the Disney animation building, I stood in the middle of a giant room with sketches from floor to ceiling and learned the basic plot,” says Lewis, “then I went home and wrote the song in about 15 minutes.”