Sheryl Crow – THREADS
On what she's claimed will be her last album, nine-time Grammy Award winner Sheryl Crow hopes covers and duets are enough to make fans happy
'It wouldn't take much to prove you wrong / I've got my mind made up and my high heels on'.
Nine-time Grammy Award winner Sheryl Crow opens her 11th album with a full-throated melodic vocal delivered over a bed of acoustic guitars and all seems right in the world. We all know it's not, which is why Crow has enlisted the help of Maren Morris and Stevie Nicks to accompany her on THREADS' jaunty opener, Prove You Wrong, and great female singers and songwriters raise there voices everywhere else on this duets record – which the Missouri-born star has declared her last.
There's Mavis Staples and Bonnie Raitt on the languid blues of Live Wire, St. Vincent on the sparse funk of Wouldn't Want to Be Like You, and Brandi Carlile (alongside Eric Clapton and Sting) stealing the show on the country noir of Beware of Darkness. The boys also get in on the act. Country hero Chris Stapleton joins the gang on the classic-Crow of Tell Me When It's Over, the great Jason Isbell stars on a stinging stroll through Bob Dylan's Everything Is Broken and Lucas Nelson features on the slow-burning Cross Creek Road.
Crow spreads her wings with Chuck D and Gary Clark Jr. on the lyrically sharp hip-hop blues boogie Story of Everything, while Brooklyn indie poppers Lucius highlight the Dusty-drama unfolding on the Memphis soul of Don't, but for the most part we're in familiar territory: the sounds are familiar, the production is crisp and the songs are full of the colour of widescreen Americana. Is that enough? When the songs are as strong as Redemption Day (bringing the voice of Johnny Cash back from beyond the grave) and Keith Richards' gorgeous The Worst, then the answer is yes.
The only problem with THREADS is self-inflicted: if it really is Crow's last record, then it's a shame one of America's most consistent songwriters of the last 30 years is choosing to bow out with a record of covers and duets. She's better than that.
Listen to this: Wouldn't Want to Be Like You, Story of Everything, Redemption Day