By Chris Willman
Sheryl Crow’s winding road has brought her back to Nashville, for her new label home as well as her actual place of residence. She’s signed a deal with the Big Machine Label Group, Variety has learned. An official announcement is due shortly.
The first release under the agreement will be a project Crow has been working on and talking about for years: a duets album that pairs the singer/songwriter with rock and country superstars, along with a few up-and-comers. Keith Richards, Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Willie Nelson, Joe Walsh and Vince Gill are among those she’s confirmed joining her in the studio. Last summer, she released a duet with St. Vincent that is also expected to be part of the new album. Crow told an interviewer last year that it might be her final album.
“I have been a Sheryl Crow fan from the first note of ‘Tuesday Night Music Club,’” said BMLG president/CEO Scott Borchetta, referring to the debut album that won Crow a best new artist Grammy 25 years ago this month. “And when she announced that she intended to make her last album, I immediately reached out to Scooter Weintraub (Crow’s manager) and got a link to the music. It’s a one-listen masterpiece that spans her entire career… and her friends that showed up for this record will blow everyone’s mind. I am honored that Big Machine gets to represent Sheryl and her music in this very important chapter of her career.”
“I’m so excited to release my next record on Big Machine,” Crow said in a statement. “I can tell that Scott Borchetta and all the people that work there love music and love what they do. What an exciting feeling for someone who has been in the music business for over 25 years.” Crow’s statement did not made any further mention of this being a final album, so it’s not known whether that’s still her plan.
Among the tracks already publicly established as being included on the collaborations album is a track with Johnny Cash, “Redemption Day.” Cash recorded a cover of Crow’s song for one of his “American Recordings” with Rick Rubin, and Crow (who was a family friend and sang at Cash’s funeral) got permission from the estate to combine his vocals with hers in a new arrangement. Also previously mentioned by Crow: her duet with Richards is an update of a 1990s Rolling Stones song, “The Worst.”
Crow released her first seven albums on the A&M label, starting with 1993’s “Tuesday Night Music Club,” which is certified seven-times platinum. In 2013, the Nashville transplant switched to Warner Bros. and released a country album, “Feels Like Home,” sticking with that label for a return to a rock sound, 2017’s “Be Myself.” Even as Crow was releasing that last album, she was discussing the duets album as a work already in progress. Last summer, she released the single with St. Vincent, “Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You,” independently, confirming that she’d split with Warner Bros.
As the standard-bearer and virtual poster girl for women in rock over the last quarter century, Crow has accrued 31 Grammy nominations and won nine of those.
Although Big Machine is primarily rooted in country, the label group continues to step outside the genre, with one recent success being a No. 1 rock radio single for the freshman band Badflower.