- 05 Sep 19
Hitmaker bids farewell to albums
Sheryl Crow has announced that her 11th studio album is her last – a nod to the changing nature of how we deliver and receive music. But she’s sure gone out with a bang. This generous selection of 17 tracks incorporates a broad range of musical influences, including country, blues, soul and rock. She’s cast her net equally wide for a sterling cast of contributors, from Kris Kristofferson through Mavis Staples to Keith Richards.
But it’s the Johnny Cash/Crow duet on the piano-based ballad ‘Redemption Day’ that cuts most deeply. Cash’s gut-wrenching vocals are grafted onto Crow’s, making for a tune that packs serious emotional punch. Not far behind is the peppy, blues-tinged ‘Live Wire’ with Crow, Bonnie Raitt and the ubiquitous 80-year-old Staples swapping lines with vim and vigour. Her voice also matches perfectly with that of Stevie Nicks for the exuberant country-rocker ‘Prove You Wrong’.
While most of the tracks are self-written, the singer drafts in Jason Isbell for an animated crack at Dylan’s ‘Everything Is Broken’. There’s a confessional quality to the slowly smouldering Jagger-Richards composition ‘The Worst’, with Keef himself on board. Eric Clapton and Sting bring their trademark skills to a portentous version of George Harrison’s ‘Beware Of Darkness’, and if St Vincent is slightly underwhelming on ‘Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You’, Emmylou Harris more than compensates with her majestic contribution to ‘Nobody’s Perfect’. Crow even borrows Joe Walsh to shake the dust off ‘Still The Old Days’, a powerful reflection on ageing.
Despite the diverse talents and styles on show, Threads is a valuable addition to Crow’s catalogue which, we assume, will henceforth expand with single tracks and live material. It is a contentious decision that feels a little premature, but – inevitably – time will decide.
7.5/10. Out now.