TOM CONWAY South Bend Tribune Correspondent
August 14, 2011
In addition to her own concerts this summer, Sheryl Crow has been making "special guest" appearances with notorious party animalKid Rock.
Although she can't speak for her touring partner, Crow says she has given up the "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" side of life on the road.
"I try to keep that part of my life alive, even though I have a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old," she says with a laugh, by phone on the way to her next gig in New Jersey. "Really, we are like the 'family hour' now. All of that stuff is for the young."
One aspect of Crow's life that has changed in both her touring life and personal life is her eating habits.
In the past, when Crow was on the road, the food she ate was "not necessarily unhealthy, but just food on the go," she says. "I pretty much would eat a tuna salad sandwich every day."
Crow made a choice to begin eating healthy five years ago, after fighting a courageous battle with breast cancer and making the decision to become a single mom to her two sons, Wyatt and Levi.
"I changed the way I looked at food as being part of my staying well as opposed to something I would just grab on the go," she says. "I started working with a chef named Chuck White in Nashville (Tenn.), who is very well-versed in wellness and disease-fighting components in food."
White has been working exclusively with Crow since 2006, both at home and on tour. Crow approached White about collaborating on a cookbook.
"He started putting some of his recipes out singularly in magazines," Crow says. "I called him and said it would be a really good time to make a book that is not only your recipes, but also the information that we had acquired along the way."
The resulting book, "If It Makes You Healthy," is full of delicious and nutritious recipes with the focus on foods that are organic, seasonal, vitamin-rich and locally grown.
"There is a lot of information in it and a lot of good recipes that non-advanced cooks can make," Crow says. "I love the book, and I love being able to feed my kids -- myself, too, but particularly my kids -- in a healthy way that they don't even know that they are eating healthy."
Crow admits that it is virtually impossible to eat only organic food, especially when she is on the road.
"There is a 10- or 15-percent cheat there, but we definitely try to eat organic," she says. "We definitely try to eat seasonally, because it is just better to eat fruit that hasn't been shot up to make it look ripe or to make it look in season. Especially to eat something that has not been sitting on a truck and hasn't been shipped in."
Crow also acknowledges that the average person may think eating organically is cost-prohibitive.
"It is definitely more expensive," she says. "But I do feel like with what you ultimately end up health-wise, it could be well worth it."
Crow's music is similar to her choice of foods, as her natural, organic sound runs counter to the processed pop of today's music. The nine-time Grammy Award-winner has had smash hits with such singles as "Leaving Las Vegas," "All I Wanna Do," "Strong Enough," "If It Makes You Happy" and "Can't Cry Anymore."
Her latest album, "100 Miles From Memphis," is her ode to the soul music she grew up listening to when she lived as the album title states, 100 miles from the home of Stax/Volt Records, among other soul music giants.
"We just wanted to make a record that felt good and was emotional," she says. "The two guys (Doyle Bramhall II and Justin Stanley) that I worked with really knew the genre well."
Crow says she wanted to make an album that evoked the soul music she loved without mimicking the style.
"We didn't want to make an album that was stylized," she says. "We wanted to do something that was authentic, without it sounding gimmicky."
The album features several high-profile guest stars, including Keith Richards and Citizen Cope. Justin Timberlake contributes background vocals on Crow's version of Terence Trent D'arby's "Sign Your Name," remade in the style of Al Green.
"He is unbelievably talented," Crow says. "He happened to be working in the studio where I was, so I asked if he would come down and hear our Al Green version of 'Sign Your Name.' He loved it. He volunteered to sing the background parts on it."
With so many hit songs to pick from, Crow jokes that they had a long list before settling on "If It Makes You Healthy" for her cookbook.
" 'Can't Fry Anymore' instead of 'Can't Cry Anymore,' " she says. "We had, 'All I Wanna Do is Have Some Fudge.' 'If It Makes You Healthy, Why the Hell Are You So Fat?' It was endless."
Sheryl Crow performs at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Morris Performing Arts Center, 211 N. Michigan St., South Bend. Tickets are $75-$35. For more information, call 574-235-9190 or 800-537-6415 or visit the website morriscenter.org.