[LIVE PIX+REVIEW] Byron Bay BluesFest 2018 - Australia


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Byron Bay BluesFest 2018 - 4th Day
Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm - Crossroads Stage
Tyagarah, Australia
Sunday, 1 April 2018

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By Kerrie Hickin

Somewhere, sometime, there is a whole essay to be written on how smart, literate, emotionally-mature female songwriters express love, desire, yearning, power, vulnerability and powerlessness. If it’s me who writes it, I’ll be calling forth Sheryl Crow’s ‘Strong Enough’ for illustration, a perfect double-edged love song, tender yet emotionally brutal (and a whole slew of Melissa Etheridge, who veritably bounces off the walls with that stuff, and Lucinda Williams, and Juliana Hatfield, and and…). But meanwhile, back at the Crossroads tent, there’s a show going on while I’m pondering the topic, which can wait for another day.

The introduction mentions nine Grammy awards and album sales of over 35 million – that’s thirty-five MILLION albums sold. Gee, if I had a dollar… but I hope Sheryl Crow does indeed get that dollar – she deserves it.

While still working as a teacher, Crow was ‘discovered’ by Michael Jackson who put her in spandex and a frightwig and a prime spot in his touring band. It’s not hard to hear why her agile vocals would impress – effortlessly taking octave jumps and holding long notes for an almost-impossible interval. And there she is, in spotlight-catching sequinned trousers and a Blondie singlet. “Jump in, let’s go, lay back, enjoy the show”, she sings on her first number out of the gates, ‘Every Day Is A Winding Road’. In ‘A Change Will Do You Good’, she is conjuring with striking verbal images that blend the celestial with the very earthy. If you take every song as strictly autobiographical, then Crow has certainly has an interesting life, lots of highs and lows, skanking about with morning breath and a hangover, or taking off on a whim.

‘All I Wanna Do’, ‘If It Makes You Happy’ and ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ certainly cover a lot of lyrical ground. Next, introduced with “we didn’t write it but we sure do like it”, was a shimmering cover of ‘First Cut Is The Deepest’.

Later, Lukas Nelson guested on a stirring harmony-laden version of the Allman Brothers’ classic ‘Midnight Rider’. Crow praised Nelson, and then extolled the audience to “support the musicians who are making the music to get us through these hard times”. Her kids apparently describe their incumbent president as “cray-cray”, so one can only hope that somehow we can stem the tide of insanity and actually have some fun before the proverbial sun goes down over whatever road you’re taking on your personal journey.


Everyday Is a Winding Road

A Change Would Do You Good

All I Wanna Do

My Favorite Mistake

Real Gone

Long Way Back

Can't Cry Anymore

The First Cut Is the Deepest

The Difficult Kind

There Goes the Neighborhood

Strong Enough

Best of Times

If It Makes You Happy

Soak Up the Sun

Midnight Rider
(with Lukas Nelson)

I Shall Believe

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