LIVE REVIEW - Greek Theater, Los Angeles - 14 September

Review by George A. Paul

When some artists delve into country music after making their name in other genres, the results often sound forced.

Not so with Sheryl Crow, whose first such album – the appropriately titled Feels Like Home – came out last week.

She co-produced and co-wrote most of the songs. Zac Brown, Vince Gill and Ashley Monroe all supply backing vocals.

The project’s early motivator, Brad Paisley, played slide guitar and helped pen the outstanding countrypolitan weeper “Waterproof Mascara.” 

Half a dozen of those appealing new tunes were debuted at the Greek Theatre on Saturday. They all fit comfortably alongside her older material, so much of it already sweetened by pedal steel. 

Equally cozy was the stage décor: chandeliers and tapestry rugs, an antique couch and chairs used for an acoustic segment. Many fans sported Stetsons; one guy even wore a conductor’s hat with corncob pipe tucked inside. 

Following a brief career montage, the singer/guitarist and her six-piece band opened the 17-song, 85-minute set in Los Angeles with an extended “Steve McQueen.” Then the crowd sang along loudly to her first laid-back hit, “All I Wanna Do.” 

Several selections passed before the musicians hit their stride, although this second tour stop comes after a whirlwind week of promotional duties. They finally locked in amid the infectious groove of “My Favorite Mistake” – containing a fine Peter Stroud guitar solo – and the spirited new country-rocker “Shotgun.” 

Crow, now a Nashville resident, really belted out the Home ballad “Give It to Me.” She also had fun being positioned between Stroud and Audley Freed’s guitar tradeoffs on “Can’t Cry Anymore,” from her wildly successful 1993 debut, Tuesday Night Music Club. 

Yet the evening’s obvious highlight came during haunting 1996 tune “Redemption Day,” though Crow’s explanation of its anti-Iraq War sentiment and how Johnny Cash ended up recording his own version was interrupted by a heckler. Featuring the Man in Black’s vocals and archival footage of the legend projected on the backdrop wisely lent this live rendition some added gravitas. 

Later, Crow proved her mettle in other area: she provided wicked harmonica work for the feisty “Best of Times” and played bass on the ebullient “Soak Up the Sun,” during which several couples in the orchestra section were inspired to dance in the aisles again.


33 Photos
Greek Theater
Los Angeles, California (USA)
14 September 2013

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