Sheryl Crow demonstrated what a dynamic career she’s built for herself during a special Spotify event in Nashville to help kick off 2019 AmericanaFest on Tuesday (Sept. 10).
Throughout her hour-long set at Cannery Ballroom, Crow treated fans to a pair of surprise guests in between performances of her biggest hits and collaborations off her new album Threads. Crow devoted a portion of the show to shining a spotlight on the artists she believes in across generations, beginning with Jade Bird, a singer-songwriter from England who was one of several female artists that shared the stage with The Highwomen and Dolly Parton during their set at the 2019 Newport Folk Festival. “There’s just this incredible crop of young women coming up,” Crow noted, all smiles as Bird showed off her edgy voice, holding own alongside the trailblazer.
Throughout the show, fans got a live look into Threads, which Crow has deemed her final album. The project features 17 cross-genre collaborations with Stevie Nicks, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and Maren Morris to name a few. Crow described the album making process as “totally and completely liberating,” allowing her to work alongside several artists she’s admired since childhood, one of which being rock legend Bonnie Raitt. Crow recalled seeing the “amazing female rock star” in concert for the first time during childhood, citing Raitt as the first woman she saw play electric guitar and inspired her to swap playing piano for guitar. The crowd erupted as Crow welcomed the “Something to Talk About” singer for a performance of “Live Wire,” an original song they recorded with fellow icon Mavis Staples for Threads, their voices sounding soulful in unison before taking a more whimsical tone on Crow’s 1995 hit “Strong Enough.” If the standing room only crowd hadn’t already been on its feet as Raitt exited the stage, their reaction would officially qualify as a standing ovation.
One of the most special numbers on Threads is “Redemption Day,” as it features the vocals from Johnny Cash’s cover of the song he recorded before he passed away in 2003. Crow shared that she knew it would be her last album after she put Cash’s vocals on the track, the crowd responding to the remark with disappointment. But Crow is passionate about her decision, explaining that she enjoys releasing songs into the ether so fans can immediately digest the messages she delivers through song, adding that she is “hopeful about the future” with acts like Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Brandi Carlile and Amanda Shires leading the charge in Americana music. “There’s a lot of truth tellers out there,” Crow reflected. “And there’s quite a few of them on this record.”
One of these truth tellers is Isbell, who Crow calls “one of my new favorite heroes” that reignited her excitement about music. She channeled this enthusiasm into their collaborative cover of Bob Dylan’s “Everything is Broken,” the live version allowing Crow to free style on harmonica. Along with a performance of “Prove You Wrong,” the soft rock-meets-country cut she recorded with Nicks and Morris, and the Chris Stapleton duet “Tell Me When It’s Over,” which particularly allowed Crow’s voice to shine, she treated fans to performances of career-defining hits including “If it Makes You Happy” and “Leaving Las Vegas.”
As the superstar closed the show with the upbeat “Every Day is a Winding Road,” she left the audience on a high that comes from a career exceeding two decades, one that’s created from timeless songs, recognition of the artists who helped shape her and the ones she’s championing that are leading the future.