Sheryl Crow biography

Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow
For Sheryl Crow, the title of her seventh album isn’t just a location; it’s a state of mind. “I grew up in a small town 100 miles from Memphis, and that informed not only my musical taste, but how I look at life,” she says. “The drive to Memphis is all farmland, and everyone is community-oriented, God-fearing people, connected to the earth. The music that came out of that part of the world is a part of who I am, and it’s the biggest inspiration for what I do and why I do it.”

So for the Kennett, Missouri native, calling the disc 100 Miles From Memphis is a statement of purpose, both musical and emotional. It also marks a long-awaited return by the nine-time Grammy winner to the sounds that first drew her to making music.

“This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” says Crow. “When (manager Scooter Weintraub) first started working with me twenty years ago, what he heard in me was that I had heavy influences from the South—Delaney and Bonnie, all the Stax records. So for years he’s been asking me, ‘When are you going to make that record?’”

The results evoke a time when soul and passion filled the radio waves, when the sweat and joy of a recording session could be captured forever on wax. Sometimes the musical references—Al Green, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder—are made apparent, but the album’s eleven songs are characterized more by capturing a classic spirit than by imitating any specific style.

Crow explains that the way 100 Miles From Memphis was recorded is crucial to its slinky grooves and rolling rhythms. Produced by Doyle Bramhall II and Justin Stanley (“I knew they could get that old soul feeling with authenticity,” she says), and cut mostly live with a regular crew of musicians, the album presented a new set of challenges for her as a singer and a songwriter.

“This wasn’t like any other record I’ve made,” she says. “We cut two, three, sometimes four tracks a day, for ten or twelve days. We wrote a lot of music, and then I had to write lyrics later, to catch up. That was definitely a new experience, feeling like I had to do homework. It was super-daunting.”

With the musical direction already established, the album’s messages crystallized in one night at Crow’s farm, outside of Nashville. “Having a three year old, you don’t get too much quiet time,” she says, “but I sat up one night, and I worked all night long and came up with the better part of five lyrics.”

What emerged was a set of songs that are unusually open and direct for someone often celebrated for the care and craft of her writing. “This music called for emotion, a place of sensuality and sexuality, and that’s a little challenging for me,” she says. “Sometimes it’s easier for me to hide behind more intellectual lyrics. So it was a great stretching experience to show more vulnerability in my writing.”

The songs on 100 Miles From Memphis display impressive range, in feeling and performance. First single “Summer Day” is a delightfully breezy slice of glory-days AM radio pop. “I wanted to experiment with writing something simple and positive,” says Crow. “The feeling of a great, solid love—not just a new love, but something everlasting.”

The spare, dramatic ballad “Stop” (the one song on the album for which Crow has sole writing credit) is a powerful vocal showcase that struggles with some hard truths. “That one is really a plea to make everything quit going so fast,” she says. “Life has reached this epic point of being out of control. There’s so much chaos everywhere you look. And especially when you have a little kid, you just want to protect the people you love from all that pain.”

Though the album features a tighter focus on Crow’s voice than ever before, a few high-profile guest stars did stop by the sessions. When she cut “Eye to Eye,” with its loping reggae groove, there was only one guitarist she could imagine adding his signature slashing riffs to the mix—her old friend Keith Richards. “He has been such a champion for me, and the Stones gave me so many breaks along the way, from very early on,” she says. (When Richards recorded his part at Electric Lady studios, the New York City facility built for Jimi Hendrix, he started reminiscing about the incomparable guitar wizard; “we were all like little kids at story hour,” says Crow.) Citizen Cope appears on a hazy, impassioned duet of his “Sideways,” a song Crow says she has long wanted to record and one of several string-heavy arrangements on 100 Miles From Memphis.

Another guest demonstrates her appeal across generations. A Memphis native named Justin Timberlake dropped by one of Crow’s sessions at Henson Studios in Los Angeles (the former A&M studio), and offered to contribute background vocals to a version of Terence Trent D’Arby’s 1987 smash “Sign Your Name” that was being recast in the style of Al Green, right down to the distinctive thud of the Hi Records drums. “He’s hysterical and super-smart, and he knows a lot about a lot of different kinds of music,” Crow says. “I’m totally impressed in every way.”

The final surprise, for both the singer and the listener, came out of a run through of an obscure Marvin Gaye song called “It’s a Desperate Situation.” The melody reminded Crow of “I Want You Back,” the Jackson 5’s breakthrough 1970 hit, and she started singing those words. Her natural vocal range sounds uncannily like Michael Jackson’s, and when Bramhall and Stanley heard it, they insisted on recording the song then and there. The album’s “bonus track” was done in one take; they even had to add the song’s introduction afterwards because they had gone straight into the lyric.

Crow, of course, first reached the spotlight as a back-up singer with Michael Jackson, and adds that “I Want You Back” was the first single she ever bought. “It wasn’t a conscious choice to do an homage, but it wound up being a very bittersweet thing,” she says. “Michael’s death brought a lot of stuff back for me, so it was nice that we could include this.”

For Sheryl Crow, 100 Miles From Memphis is the right album at the right moment. “My last record (2008’s Detours) was pretty political, extremely personal, and more lyric-driven,” she says, “so it seemed like a great time to do something soulful and sexy and more driven by the music.” It took a lot of years, but with this set of songs, she finally made it back home.

Sheryl Crow to release “100 Miles From Memphis”

Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow is about to unveil her soul stylings on the new studio set “100 Miles From Memphis” due for release July 20th on A&M Records. Crow will hit the road with a string of June dates followed by a headlining slot on the first five Lillith Fair dates. After the release of 100 Miles From Memphis Crow will debut a new live band to take her funky new sound on the road. See below for complete list of tour dates.

Growing up in Kennett, Missouri, 100 miles from Memphis, Crow grew up listening to the irresistible soul sounds on the radio coming out of Memphis in the late 60s; Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Booker T, Aretha Franklin and early 70s; Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone and Aretha Franklin, all of which shaped the artist Sheryl Crow is today.

‘I feel artistically revitalized and the music feels fresh and at the same time very familiar to what I do,” says Crow in a letter to her fans posted on her website this week. “Many of my past songs such as “Run Baby Run,” “My Favorite Mistake,” “Now That You’re Gone” and others are already steeped in this style.”

Produced by the team of Doyle Bramhall II and Justin Stanley (Eric Clapton), 100 Miles From Memphis was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York, Henson Recording in Los Angeles and Sheryl’s Nashville based home studio Cross Creek. A talented line up of musicians has recorded on the album including Tommy Simms on bass, Chris Bruce on guitar, Victor Indrizzo and Homer Steinweiss on drums and Jeff Babko on keyboards.

Since the release of her seven times platinum debut set Tuesday Night Music Club in 1993, which was nominated for five Grammys and won three, Crow has released five studio albums (each charting Top 10, four of them platinum-plus), a quadruple-platinum greatest hits collection, a Christmas album and has performed duets with musical luminaries such as Sting, Kid Rock, Mick Jagger and more. She has also been nominated for an additional 27 Grammys, winning six more. Her most recent nomination was for her sixth album, 2008’s critically acclaimed Detours. Crow saw the launch of her very own clothing line Bootheel Trading Co., is a cancer survivor and passionate supporter of a variety of environmental and health-related charities, including The NRDC, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and The World Food Program. Recently Crow has taken an interest in acting having appeared in a three episode arc of “Cougar Town” and an appearance on her friend Jerry Seinfeld’s show “The Marriage Ref.” Crow as sold more than 35 million records worldwide.

Below is a list of summer tour dates for Sheryl Crow. Check for additional dates:

Friday, June 11 Chattanooga, TN – Riverbend Festival
Saturday, June 12 Elizabeth, IN – Horseshoe Casino
Sunday, June 13 Highland Park, IL – Ravinia Pavilion
Monday, June 14 Interlochen, MI – Kresge Auditorium
Tuesday, June 15 Kettering, OH – Fraze Pavilion @ Lincoln Park Center
Thursday, June 17 Vienna, VA – The Filene Center
Friday, June 18 Cleveland, OH – State Theater
Saturday, June 19 Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theater
Monday, June 21 Charlottesville, VA – Charlottesville Pavillion
Tuesday, June 22 Portsmouth, VA – nTELOS Wireless Pavilion
Thursday, June 24 Milwaukee, WI – Summerfest
Saturday, June 26 Bridgeview, IL – Crossroads Guitar Festival

Lillith Fair Dates
Sunday, June 27 Calgary, AL – McMahon Stadium
Monday, June 28 Edmonton, AB – Northlands Spectrum
Thursday, July 1 Vancouver, BC – Pitt Meadow Airport
Friday, July 2 Portland, OR – The Amphitheater @ Clark County
Saturday, July 3 George, WA – The Gorge Amphitheater

August/September dates will feature new touring band!
Thursday, Aug 12 Gilford, NH – Meadowbrook
Friday, Aug 13 Canandaigua, NY – Constellation Brands Marvin Sands PAC
Saturday, Aug 14 Atlantic City, NJ – Caesar’s Circus Maximus
Sunday, Aug 15 Cary, NC – Koka Booth Amphitheater
Thursday, Aug 19 Atlanta, GA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Saturday, Aug21 Sedalia, MO – Missouri State Fairground Grandstand
Sunday, Aug 22 Des Moines, IA – Iowa State Fair
Tuesday, Aug 24 Tulsa, OK – Brady Theater
Thursday, Aug 26 Grand Prairie, TX – Nokia Theater @ Grand Prairie
Saturday, Aug 28 Bee Cave, TX – The Backyard
Tuesday, Aug 31 Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater
Wednesday, Sept 1 Salt Lake City, UT – Red Butte Garden Amphitheater
Thursday, Sept 9 San Diego, CA – Humphreys Concerts by the Bay
Friday, Sept 10 Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theater
Saturday, Sept 11 Las Vegas, NV – The Joint
Tuesday, Sept 14 Saratoga, CA – The Mountain Winery
Wednesday, Sept 15 Saratoga, CA The Mountain Winery
Thursday, Sept 16 Santa Ynes, CA Chumash Casino
Friday, Sept 17 Murphy, CA Ironstone Vineyards

Rock The Vote Presents the “Hey, America Feels Kinda’ Cool Again” Inaugural Gala Featuring Beastie Boys and Sheryl Crow

Fresh off their combined efforts on the Get Out and Vote ’08 voter awareness tour, Beastie Boys and Sheryl Crow will play full sets at a very special all ages Inaugural Gala presented by Rock The Vote. Citizen Cope and Justin Jones will round out the bill.

Beastie Boys
Beastie Boys

The all ages show will take place Monday, January 19 at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. Doors will be at 8 p.m. and the show will begin at 9 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, January 10 online.
All tickets will be will call only. Valid photo ID must be presented to claim tickets.
There is a 4 ticket limit per customer.

Net proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Rock The Vote.