Life is full of lucky strokes and defining moments. Born into a musical family Sheryl Crow's first concert was Peter Frampton. Fortunately, that experience didn't deter her musical ambitions. She began writing songs at thirteen and played in local groups before leaving her native Missouri for L.A. in '86. There she found backing vocal work with Don Henley, Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart. It wasn't long before she was recording her first album. But the project was later shelved. Too slick. There was nothing that separated it from a million other things that are recorded.
In limbo, trying to put together another album, Crow was invited to an informal mid-week jam session called the Tuesday Night Music Club, a name she lifted for her '93 CD. This looser approach served her well. "Run Baby Run" was an incredible song. Of course it went nowhere. However, "All I Wanna Do" with its slice of life humor and pseudo-adlib lines was irresistible. "Leaving Las Vegas" still had an air of spontaneity but sounded more structured.
"Sheryl Crow," her second CD, premiered in '96 and drew the wrath of Wal-Mart who banned the album because of the line "Watch our children as they kill each other, with a gun they bought at the Wal-Mart discount store." "Love Is A Good Thing" wasn't for Wal-Mart. Some people are so touchy.
Crow had two songs used in the "Erin Brockovich" movie ("Redemption Day" and "Every Day Is A Winding Road"). She also recorded a live album with some "friends" (Eric Clapton, Stevie Nicks, etc)" in New York's Central Park. The CD included Crow originals and a few classics like "Tombstone Blues."
'02 saw the release of "C'mon, C'mon" featuring the uplifting "Soak Up The Sun" and "Steve McQueen." Both songs returned the following year as part of the career compilation, "The Very Best of Sheryl Crow." But she wasn't done yet. Crow became romantically involved with seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. The couple met at a charity event in October '03 and began dating a short time later. With her personal life on an upswing, Crow released "Wildflower," in '05, which she produced with Jeff Trott and John Shanks. Both Trott and Shanks played on the album.
For all the gossip mongers, the Crow/Armstrong pairing ended in early '06.
"This is the most honest record I've ever made," said Crow of her '08 album "Detours." " It's about being forced to wake up." Working again with producer Bill Bottrell ("Tuesday Night Music Club") Crow's sixth studio album had songs relating to personal issues ("Diamond Ring"/"Now That You're Gone"), her battle with breast cancer ("Make It Go Away") and politics ("Gasoline"). "The songs are very inspired by the last three years of events in my life," added Crow.
"Detours," which was recorded at Crow's Nashville farm, sold more than 140,000 copies in its first two weeks and peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200.
A deluxe 2CD/DVD version of "Tuesday Night Music Club" landed in '09 with the addition of unreleased tracks and b-sides. The DVD contained the videos for each of the album's singles.
Crow issued her seventh album "100 Miles From Memphis," in July, '10. She got help from a diverse collection of performers ranging from the Stones' Keith Richards to pop singer/actor Justin Timberlake. "Summer Day" was the lead single.
Two years later, VH1 ranked Crow at #25 on their list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music.
Crow then signed with Warner Music Nashville and released her first Country album, "Feels Like Home." The '13 set featured "Easy," her first solo Country single since '03's "The First Cut Is The Deepest."
Returning to her core sound, "Be Myself" reunited Crow with producer-musician Jeff Trott who contributed to "Tuesday Night Music Club."
To promote the '17 album, Crow appeared on the TV show NCIS: New Orleans performing at an outdoor fundraiser. Of course, she was at the scene of the crime.
1993 Tuesday Night Music Club
1996 Sheryl Crow
1998 The Globe Sessions
2002 C'mon C'mon
2010 100 Miles From Memphis
2013 Feels Like Home
2017 Be Myself
"Tuesday Night Music Club" is Crow's best CD. The beat poet hip of "All I Wanna Do" and the "caught in life's misadventures," "Leaving Las Vegas" are the primary reasons. However, "Sheryl Crow," "The Globe Sessions" and "C'mon C'mon" are also recommended.
What made Crow a success was her ability to give songs just enough of a twist to make them interesting while riding an irresistible riff or beat.
The career retrospective, "The Very Best Of Sheryl Crow," is a good choice (released in '03, it's not all inclusive). A large part of Crow's appeal is her casual energy with the ability to catch everyday moments in an askew light. With a couple new songs added, this set captures those gems.
"Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live In Central Park" is exactly what the title indicates. It has its moments but get the studio albums first.