When it comes to live shows in Flagstaff, few names on the marquee have been as big as Sheryl Crow.
A multi-Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum artist with several Billboard hits, Crow is a well-known pop-rock singer-songwriter who is bound to pack the Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill this Thursday.
Crow arrives in town on the heels of her seventh studio album. She also has gained added notoriety with appearances on two prime-time television shows, has a new cookbook out on stands and is probably a decade away from ending up in the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame.
Crow collaborated with several major artists, such as Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson, before striking out on her own with the 1993 release of her debut album, "Tuesday Night Music Club."
A year later, Crow reached stratospheric heights when she had a Top 10 hit with "All I Wanna Do." Other charting singles from the debut album included "Leaving Las Vegas," "Strong Enough" and "Can't Cry Anymore." In 1995, Crow and "Tuesday Night" picked up three Grammy Awards.
Her follow-up self-titled album garnered critical acclaim as well as three more hits: "If It Makes You Happy," "A Change Will Do You Good" and "Every Day Is a Winding Road." She also is known for the hit songs "Soak Up the Sun" and "My Favorite Mistake."
Crow agreed to a phone interview recently, shortly before she was getting ready to play a show in Fresno, Calif.
Tell us about your current tour. Is this tied to your latest album, "100 Miles from Memphis," or is it just a fun, get-out-there-for-the-summer kind of tour?
It's tied to the album. The album came out last year, so we're playing a number of songs from it. We'll be playing around two hours. We cover a lot of songs from "100 Miles" and songs people know and recognize.
What kinds of shows are you doing for this tour? Do they have a lot of multi-media elements or pyrotechnics, or is this a straight-up rock 'n' roll show?
Our production is pretty paired down on this tour for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is we're trying to be green on the tour. We're not bringing the big lighting rig, which takes a lot of electricity and puts off a lot of heat. We're using lights that are more energy-efficient and doing things in a more sustainable way. It's really more of a traditional concert than a big-production show. It's about the songs and the musicians.
You have so many hits. Is there any one song or a couple of songs you have to play?
"If It Makes You Happy," definitely. People really want to hear that song. For a while, I had I retired "All I Wanna Do" from my live shows, but I have brought that back and I really like playing it now. Another popular one that people want to hear is "Soak Up the Sun."
You mentioned you are touring on your recent record. How does "100 Miles from Memphis" as an album fit in with your other studio records?
It's similar to my previous records in that there are a lot of songs that stem from the same influences. There are quite a lot of songs on this album in particular that come from the R&B tradition. This record is very committed to the genre of R&B. I grew up so close to Memphis this album is inspired by the music I heard coming out of [the city].
I have read that you now have two sons: 1-year-old Levi and a 4-year-old Wyatt. In what ways has becoming a mom changed things for you?
They have changed everything. Because they have changed everything, it changes your life. And your life informs your art ... But my ability to lead my life by inspiration has to be calculated more. I can't just get up in the morning and plan to spend a few hours working on songs. Having my two boys has made the way I do everything different.
Do they come on tour with you?
Definitely. It makes it a lot of fun because you're visiting water parks, science museums and reptile gardens along the way. It's fun to see things spark in their eyes when we have different experiences ... It keeps me young-hearted.
Does this mean there's a Sheryl Crow kids' album in the works?
I don't know about that. All the songs I'm making up for [4-year-old son Wyatt] have to do with bodily functions. Not sure how well that would go over.
Switching back to your music career ... In 1994-95, things really blew up for you with "Tuesday Night Music Club." It was like your solo career took off right out of the gate. Do you ever feel like you're trying to match the success of that first record?
There's no way I could repeat that. It's just not even possible anymore. People don't go out and buy records in the same way they used to. And many people don't legally own the records, so it's hard to track sales and how much people are listening to you. I just continue to make the records I want to make. As an artist, I have to follow my convictions.
I notice you have made appearances on television shows such as "30 Rock" and "Cougar Town." Are you an actress in the making, or is this something you're doing for fun on the side?
No, I'm not an actress in the making. I happen to have good friends on both of those shows. Courtney [Cox] has always been in the background encouraging me to do TV because she thinks I'm funny. But I don't really have the stamina for it.
So you have music, TV and, now, a cookbook? Tell me about your new cookbook, "If It Makes You Healthy." How did that come about?
I was diagnosed with cancer five-and-half years ago and I started to educate myself on how to stay well through nutrition. And I worked with this great chef [Chuck White] on how to eat healthy and I wanted this book to be a resource on how nutrition can help you stay well. It's great information. And it's great for moms who are raising kids and cooking for the family.
If You Go
What: Sheryl Crow in concert
Where: Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill
When: Thursday, Aug. 4. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Cost: $51 to $102
Learn more: www.flagstaffamp.com.