Sheryl Crow: Beer, Bogans And Being Myself

Sheryl Crow: Beer, Bogans And Being Myself


Sheryl Crow’s breakthrough hit "All I Wanna Do" remains a fixture on global radio stations, but there’s one element of the song’s success that still surprises the singer more than two decades since she wrote it. Despite name-checking Budweiser in the Australian number one of 1994, the beer company never contacted the Missouri-born musician in the wake of the track’s success.

“Ohhh, those crazy people - they did not!” Crow laughs. “No money changed hands and they missed a great opportunity for some excellent branding.”

Wait, so despite selling one million singles spruiking the US beer brand, Budweiser have never so much as offered Crow a six pack?

“Nope! Not even. Can you believe that? It’s not right…”

While Crow’s left her Bud grudge in the past, her new music is deeply connected to her ‘90s output. Released on Friday April 21, Be Myself is crammed with sounds as warm and dreamy as the sun coming up over Santa Monica Boulevard. Despite recalling the sounds of her breakthrough 1993 album Tuesday Night Music Club and her eponymous second album from 1996, it’s a fresh and exhilarating release. On current single "Halfway There" (featuring Gary Clark Jr), Crow even touches on the political angst encircling the US as she penned the album.  

“It’s an extremely compelling time to be an artist and man, I could not write fast enough,” Crow says. “There’s so much to write about at the moment. I’ve never seen people in this country get out into the street and let their voices be heard like at the moment, so if there’s anything good to come out of the chaos and the fear-mongering we’re seeing then it’s that.”

Despite notching up more than 35 million album sales and nine Grammy Awards, Crow notes on the weary sounds of Be Myself’s "Long Way Back" there are “so many things I ain’t done yet”. So what’s still on her bucket list?

“Well I absolutely have to come back to Australia, because my six year old [Levi] feels very cheated his nine year old brother [Wyatt] has been to Australia and he hasn’t. I was last there seven years ago with John Mellencamp, so they keep asking when we are going to Australia. It is definitely on the bucket list. We hope to be there this year or early next year - we’re going to make it happen.”

John Mellencamp is just one of the many stars Crow has shared a stage with in her 30 years of performing. Since her early stint playing guitar and singing with Michael Jackson during his Bad World Tour in the late ‘80s, Crow has sung, collaborated and written with artists including Ryan Adams, Stevie Nicks, Luciano Pavarotti, Neil Finn, Johnny Cash and Prince. After Prince’s death on April 21 last year, Crow’s guitarist Peter Stroud shared vision of Crow and Prince performing her song "Everyday Is A Winding Road" in Toronto in 1999. On concluding a thrilling guitar work-out, Prince drapes his arms around Crow and gives her a beaming smile.

“What is really weird about that footage is that I’m wearing a David Bowie shirt in that video, who had also just passed not long before Prince. I didn’t even notice that until someone pointed it out.”

Prince later recorded his own version of "Everyday Is A Winding Road" for the 1999 album Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic. Crow also appeared on the album’s track "Baby Knows", but is unsure if any of her work with Prince remains in his famed vault.

“I went down to [Prince’s home studio] Paisley Park and played harmonica with him, but I don’t know if there are other recordings around. When I went down there we jammed around a little bit, but I have no idea what became of the recording or if he made songs out of anything we’d done.”

Among the trinkets in the cosy wooden chapel Crow records in on her Nashville property, Crow has a well-used record player. She suggests she’s been listening to classic Rod Stewart vinyl in the lead-up to Be Myself’s release.

“Right now I am really into Every Picture Tells A Story,” Crow says. “It’s kinda funny since I haven’t played it for years, but I put it on the other day and man, it sounds so good. I keep going back to that old late ‘60s early ‘70s period and I just love it.”

When it’s pointed out to Crow that the name Sheryl is quite a bogan name in Australia, Crow laughs when asked if she feels an affinity with rough Aussies who can open beers with their teeth, like a fight and have bad haircuts.

“Well first of all, one of my dearest friends is Australian. He has worked for me for years, made my latest video "Halfway There" and was my production manager after I stole him from Crowded House. I get called Shezza all the time, so I guess I can relate to my namesakes. I haven’t opened any beers with my teeth as of late, but there’s nothing wrong with a few rough edges here and there…”

Be Myself is out now on CD, vinyl and digital services.

- SM

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