Threads by Sheryl Crow

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Sheryl Crow’s music sits comfortably in the crease between rock and country. She seems equally at ease in each world, so it is no surprise that, when she decided to do an album of collaborations, she brings together people from both genres, sometimes on the same track. Despite being stylistically eclectic, Threads, Crow’s 11th studio album, still feels like an album with a common purpose.

The title, Threads, refers to people who have influenced Crow’s music in the past—like Stevie Nicks or Joe Walsh—as well as newer artists like St. Vincent or Lucius. There is another thread that runs through many of these songs, though: a sense of heartache and disappointment. This is especially clear in a trio of songs right in the middle of the album with a high-energy cover of Dylan’s “Everything Is Broken” followed by a mostly acoustic version of the Rolling Stones’ “The Worst” and Crow’s original “Lonely Alone,” sung with great pathos by Crow and Willie Nelson. While the closing song, “For the Sake of Love,” a beautiful duet with Vince Gill, continues the theme of heartache, it does so with a sense that there is something to aspire to.

This is not a sad album, despite the theme. Crow’s writing and singing, as well as the joy we hear in her collaborations, make for a stirring 75 minutes of music that straddles genres. (Valory)

About the Author

Robert J. Keeley is professor of education at Calvin College and director of distance learning at Calvin Seminary.