Heroes: Sheryl Crow

As she prepares for Threads, her 11th and last album, the perennial folk diva and eco-activist eyes her grand finale.

Heroes featuring Sheryl Crow first appears in V119, our Music Issue featuring Lizzo. V119 is available for sale!

Sheryl Crow says her 11th album, Threads, may be the one to tie off her 30-year career. “At my age,” she says, “you’re obsolete. I can write songs tillI’m blue in the face, but not songs [everyone] wants to hear.” At 57, Crow is hardly a dinosaur by diva standards, but her uncertainty isn’t all about age. “Adults are wrecking [the planet] for the next generation,” she says. “I’ve got two kids and I’m frustrated.”

Though Crow’s peppy single “All I Wanna Do” made her a star in ’93, it belied her gritty edge. Despite logging megahits and achieving celebrity status, Crow, raised in small-town Missouri, is rootsy at heart. “There was a lot of drinking and acting like an imbecile that went into those early records,” she laughs. “It all goes back to how I was raised; we had two stop lights. It was a farming, churchgoing community.”

Twangy and weathered, Threads, due this year, is a star-studded collection of duets, including a remaster of Crow’s “Redemption Day” featuring Johnny Cash, who covered the song in 2003. “Now felt like a time for meaningful experiences. I started calling people I admire, and the list just grew,” she says. Besides Cash, that list makes a veritable who’s who of living legends, from Stevie Nicks to Kris Kristofferson, who lent a particularly poignant cameo on “Border Lord” despite suffering from memory loss. “His older memories are intact but making new ones [is tough],” she says. “Yet his talent is still there.”

She has equal respect for younger collaborators like St. Vincent and Gary Clark Jr. “If I were coming up now, I don’t know if I would even try, [with] all the self-promoting it takes to make it,” she says. “That’s really what it takes.”

So what counts as success in Crow’s book? Hint: it’s not her nine Grammys, nor selling millions of records, nor her 50 acres in Nashville (Kacey Musgraves produced Golden Hour at Crow’s in-home recording studio). “I always wanted to make music that mattered and that had something to say. And that’s still my objective,” she says. “I still want to write the greatest song in the world.” With evergreen hits like “Strong Enough” and “Soak Up the Sun,” can’t she concede to at least having come close? “No,” she says. “If I get anywhere near it, I will feel complete.”

Until then, whether fighting climate change or industry ageism, Crow is more than strong enough for the future.

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