Sheryl Crow’s datebook is overbooked: She’s performing at Macy’s Glamorama in three cities (including Minneapolis Friday), making promotional appearances to launch her country-music career with an album in September, headlining concerts (including the Minnesota State Fair on Aug. 25) and getting her two young boys ready for school.
Crow, 51, managed to squeeze in a phone call from Chicago last week to answer a few questions.
On getting involved with Glamorama: The singer said she has a history of working with Macy’s and “great causes — this one’s Children’s Cancer Research Fund.”
On her sense of fashion: “I dress like my music — Americana. A great pair of Levi’s and a cool vintage jacket.”
On what she’ll wear to Glamorama: Crow rattled off the names of several designers whose work will be featured in the fashion show. She said she has a relationship with the Tommy Hilfiger label. After hemming and hawing, she blurted: “I never know till right before I go on.”
On performing in the Twin Cities three times in nine weeks — Mystic Lake Casino in June and Glamorama and the State Fair in August: No, she doesn’t have a time-share condo here. Nor does she have another Twin Cities boyfriend. (She dated Joe Blake, a filmmaker from Minneapolis, in the mid-1990s.) “Chicago and Minneapolis are two of my favorite cities,” she said. (She’s also doing Glamorama in Chicago.)
On going country after 20 years (and nine Grammys) in pop music: “My label [Interscope] and I went separate ways after 18 years. They didn’t know what to do with me.”
In 2003 she recorded a hit country duet, “Picture,” with Kid Rock. Having moved to Nashville nearly eight years ago, she was encouraged by many country artists, especially Brad Paisley, to make a country album.
“The country format has changed,” Crow said, “and I’m enjoying it. I’m the new kid at school.”
That means that she hit the road this spring and summer to visit country radio stations to perform her recent country single, “Easy.” The tour reminded her of an episode in the 1980 Loretta Lynn biopic “Coal Miner’s Daughter” when Lynn and her husband drove to a series of small-town radio stations, hawking their new single.
“I don’t mind hard work,” Crow said. “I like the organicness” of visiting radio stations.
On the sound of her album, “Feels Like Home,” due Sept. 10: “The first single [‘Easy’] sounds like me. Songwriting-wise, this is the best record I’ve made. I’ve written about things as a single mom and time away from your kids. Some songs are very country, some are middle-of-the-road. There’s some fun songs, too.”
She wrote “Waterproof Mascara” with Paisley. Justin Niebank, known for his work with Vince Gill and Marty Stuart, produced for Warner Music Nashville.
On her country roots: “As a kid in Kennett, Missouri, I didn’t love country,” she admitted. “My parents were in a swing band. I listened to everything from James Taylor to the Beatles, and later the Stones, Linda Ronstadt and Gram Parsons.” Emmylou Harris is her most important country influence.
On whether she’s consulted Hootie & the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker, another 1990s pop star who switched to country: “I haven’t,” Crow said. “We came up together. I just played with him in Buffalo [N.Y.] at a country fest. He is who he always was. Country fans will decide if I belong in that format.”