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Why Sheryl Crow changed her mind about Showtime’s documentary, ‘Sheryl’

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Why Sheryl Crow changed her mind about Showtime’s documentary, ‘Sheryl’ (Photo: Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

There’s a scene from the new documentary film ‘Sheryl,’ from filmmaker Amy Harris, about the life and music of nine-time Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Sheryl Crow where the artist expresses a profound truth that applies to each of us.

“It’s always hard to look back and talk about who you were because it’s only who you think you were,” she says.

As we become further removed from moments in time, those memories become distorted as changes and challenges keep hurling us into a new reality. That notion is one of the reasons why Crow says she reconsidered her initial reaction of a proposed documentary.

“I (first) said ‘Absolutely not,’” Crow says of her response to her manager when approached with the idea of a film early on during the pandemic quarantine. “I was so not interested and it took a while for me to come around to it,” she says.

In reflection, Crow says she thought of the many documentaries that had left an indelible mark on her.

Nearly 30 years after her the release of her 10 million-plus selling debut album “Tuesday Night Music Club,” and its enduring chart-topping single “All I Wanna Do,” and after thinking about her life before and since, Crow says she changed her tune regarding “Sheryl.”

“I realized there are so many stories worth telling, especially for any woman or any young artist coming up, there’s a lifetime of challenges in there that are not unique to me, so we got a great director and dug in.”

“Sheryl” is scheduled to premiere May 6 at 9 p.m. on Showtime. On the same day, a 33-track double-length soundtrack will hit digital retailers, containing Crow’s biggest hits, deep cuts, and three new songs, including a studio version of The Rolling Stones’ “Live With Me,” featuring Mick Jagger on blues harp.

Crow’s first stepped into the spotlight as a backing vocalist for Michael Jackson on the “Bad” tour from 1987 to 1989.

Crow has released 11 studio albums since 1993, most recently 2019’s “Threads” which she said at the time would be her final full-length record. Citing changes in how people consume music today, Crow said she intends to release the occasional single, saying she enjoys the immediacy of the format.

Crow’s nine top-40 hits to date include “Everyday is a Winding Road,” “A Change Would Do You Good,” “If It Makes You Happy,” and “My Favorite Mistake.”

Crow is scheduled to launch a tour this month that will include a date at Thompson’s Point in Portland on July 13.

During an interview with The Maine Edge, scheduled to air Saturday morning on the stations of BIG 104 FM, Crow revealed that her new single, “Forever” was partially inspired by watching Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” docu-series on The Beatles, and by a conversation she had with her 15-year-old son. She recalls the exciting but harrowing day she first stepped onto a Rolling Stones stage for a duet with Mick Jagger, and she cites an example of an inspired song that “literally came out of nowhere.”

The Maine Edge: You’ve done a pretty good job of keeping your private life private then a documentary crew knocks on your door. Is it a strange experience to watch a film about yourself?

Sheryl Crow: Yeah, I knew I would not like it, not for any artistic choices, I just knew that watching myself would be unnerving, and it was. But with Amy Scott, the director who did one of my favorite documentaries about (director) Hal Ashby, I knew I was in safe hands. She has a history of making smart, tasteful and beautiful artistic choices. She also wanted to tell the real story of the hard stuff that comes with a ride to fame, especially when you’re a person that struggles with depression and being a woman in a business that’s run by men. There were so many challenges in there that were worth discussing and revealing. Although it does feel like a peek into this private life, it felt necessary.

TME: You recorded a new version of The Rolling Stones “Live With Me” with Mick. I just watched you do that song with the Stones from the Voodoo Lounge tour, released on Blu-ray a while back. (This was Crow’s first appearance with the Stones, filmed at Miami’s Joe Robbie Stadium on November 25, 1994, with 56,000 in attendance) Your confidence was impressive, you owned it. Could you describe what it feels like to walk out onto their stage?

Crow: First and foremost, I’ll say that was my first really big appearance and I was a massive fan of The Rolling Stones. When Mick personally called and asked if I would come be part of this pay-per-view special, I was terrified. And even after rehearsing it the day of the gig, I threw up all day long. I was so nervous, and right before I went out, Bobby Keys, the great saxophone player, handed me a bottle of tequila and said ‘Here, take a slug of courage,’ and pushed me out there. So it may look like I was really confident but I was terrified and it turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. So here we are 30 years later, and I texted Mick and told him we were going to do “Live With Me” for the soundtrack, and asked if he wanted to play harp on it. He said sure. Just that alone is crazy, to be able to text one of your heroes and have him agree to be part of it.

TME: When you are in songwriting mode, do you tend to write when inspiration strikes? Or could you write a song anywhere at any time?

Crow: There are the songs you write that are really inspired and some that are really crafted. I can craft a song but it’s not necessarily going to be my favorite. Then there are songs that come out of nowhere where you feel like, gosh, maybe there is some kind of force where you just get out of the way then the song comes. I like to think that.

TME: I think Keith Richards described that as like having an invisible antenna that receives signals from a mysterious place. Could you give me an example of one of those songs that came to you that way?

Crow: There’s a song called “Redemption Day” that I wrote years ago, I think in 1995. That’s not really my typical songwriting style to write verse after verse, much like a Bob Dylan cadence. It literally came out of nowhere. I’d gone to Bosnia to play for the troops and I sat down and it kind of wrote itself. Those are the songs that I point to and say ‘OK, I don’t where you came from but I’m very grateful.’

TME: “Forever,” your new single, is simply beautiful. It even has a slightly psychedelic middle-eight section. How did you come to write that one?

Crow: I had just watched the “Get Back” Beatles docu-series from Peter Jackson and I was so inspired. “Forever” definitely feels Beatley to me but it’s mostly about a conversation I had with my 15-year-old about stress. It occurred to me that our kids are growing up in a time that is very stressful and really, their sole job is to be a kid. This is the time of their life that should be stress-free. That’s really what the song is about. This documentary is the first time I’ve allowed my kids to be in anything (related to my career). I don’t post pictures of them; they’re never in my social media. They’re in this documentary and it was fun for them and a joy for me.

TME: You have an intense concert schedule coming up, including a show here in Maine at Thompson’s Point on July 13. Are you excited about these shows?

Crow: Oh, I am. We did some shows last June and July and it was so wonderful. After the year or two of being away from everyone, it feels like every concert is very celebratory. People feel extremely grateful (to hear live music) and to be together again.

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 May 2022 07:02

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