Questions We Still Have About Sheryl Crow’s End-All, Be-All Record

Why Is It Her Last? Is It Country or Rock? Is She Still Pissed at Her Haters?

The problem with long-read feature stories that ask a lot of questions is that sometimes, those questions just leave you with even more questions. Such is the case with the new Sheryl Crow story in Billboard.

It’s all about her next (and last) album Threads due out at the end of August. The one she calls her “end-all, be-all record.”

So my first questions is, why is it going to be her last?

My next one is, is it a country album since it’s on a Nashville record label? Crow says of her current deal with Big Machine that everyone at the label has worked, “as my 9-year-old (Levi) says, their man-berries off.”

I’d also love to know if the women who she has influenced — namely Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves — have influenced her in any way. Musgraves made her last album in Crow’s barn studio, and she recalls what it felt like hearing it for the first time. “When I was first hearing it in the barn, I told her I could feel that she was shutting out the world and finding herself. It was so beautiful and brave,” Crow said.

She talks about her breast cancer battle in 2006, and how it made her want to see what her songs meant to people. “Coming out on the other side of having had cancer was liberating, in a weird way. I quit thinking about what people thought. I quit thinking I needed to be productive all the time. I quit putting myself in this box of what life is supposed to look like: fall in love, get married, have babies. I didn’t feel like I was mired down in the muck that I had managed to collect through the years. I dropped a thousand skins.” Did cancer change her perspective on what really mattered?

Crow also shared that you’re not allowed to be sick of fans singing along to your songs at shows. So does that mean that she’ll keep touring, even after that last album’s been released?

In the video within the story, Crow says that the first country artist she looked up to was Barbara Mandrell. “She could play pedal steel and everything,” she says, “so I wanted to be her.” So did Crow ever learn to play pedal steel? (I do know that Crow’s mom was David Nail’s piano teacher, so it’s probably safe to assume to whole family has that music gene.)

Crow also says that “Picture” — her country collaboration with Kid Rock — is her go-to karaoke song. And that she’s okay with the fact that their conflicting politics haven’t caused any hard feelings. “Putting out hate messages and vitriol is just never OK. All the people who say, ’Shut up and sing,’ on my social media, they’re not going to make me stop or change my mind. My mom has this great saying: ’You can’t possibly wish for them to be more miserable than they already are.'” So does that mean that Crow and Kid Rock are still friends?

Then Crow describes her early days as an artist as kind of lonely ones. “I have a pretty low image of myself, mainly because when I first came out I was totally shunned by my peers — the Seattle scene, Courtney Love and Beck and R.E.M. and Billy Corgan — because what I was doing was much more rootsy. You either liked me or you didn’t, and it wasn’t cool to like me. The people who wrote me off way back then have never liked me.”

What I have to know now is, is she okay with that?

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.
@alisonbonaguro