Lyrics with Laura

By Laura Valentine

Welcome to Lyrics with Laura, Sheryl Crow edition. In doing some extra research for this post, I actually learned that she and I share a birthday! We’re just birds of a feather.

Sheryl Crow was born in Kennett, Missouri and has been active in the music industry since 1986. One of my favorite things about her music is that it doesn’t really fit into one perfect genre or box. She touches rock, country, pop, folk, and more, and that versatility isn’t easy to achieve. It has won her nine Grammys, out of 32 nominations.

Probably the coolest thing about her is her command of the bass. We don’t see enough women on the bass! She also rocks the guitar, keyboard, piano, harmonica, accordion, and autoharp. What even is an autoharp, Sheryl?!

The road to economic security can be a long one in the music industry because, in Sheryl’s words, “wherever commerce and art are joined together, art takes the back seat.” She is outspoken about owning your masters, but she also acknowledges how difficult that can be given how expensive it is do things on your own. In her case, it was particularly challenging because she “went through the period when women were not getting signed, particularly if [they] were writing songs that were lyrically propelled.” Well, “lyrically propelled” music is what specifically draws me to artists like Sheryl Crow. It’s real, it’s vulnerable, and above all, it’s relatable. And while it may work well on the radio, you can tell that’s not its core purpose.

In her own words: “Music, art, writing – it gives us a sense of who we are, a sense of our history, a sense of our future, and it should provide some kind of comfort. It’s not just entertainment for entertainment’s sake; it’s an investment.” I couldn’t agree more.

Below are my top five tracks by Sheryl Crow, followed by an awesome bonus video of her and Kris Kristofferson performing Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee at a Willie Nelson & Friends Concert in New York in 2003:

  1. Everyday is a Winding Road
  2. Picture (with Kid Rock)
    Sheryl is only featured on this song, but it’s too good to ignore for this list.
  3. The First Cut is the Deepest (Acoustic)
    This is Cat Stevens’s song, and Rod Stewart also had a great version, but this acoustic version is quintessential Sheryl.
  4. If It Makes You Happy
  5. Soak up the Sun

 

Sheryl Crow & Kris Kristofferson – “Me and Bobby McGee” – presented by Willie Nelson

You can listen to The Thread playlist, which compiles all the songs from past Lyrics with Laura posts. So far, it features Annie Lennox, Selena, and Sheryl Crow.

Laura Valentine is the Chief of Staff for Engage. You can reach her at laura@engagewomen.org.


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