Published Aug 27, 2019Multi-genre artist, trailblazer and humanitarian Sheryl Crow
brought out all the bells and whistles on her latest album, Threads.
On what's being called her final full-length, Crow has amassed a collection of 17 songs, some new and old, of various genres from country, rock, folk and beyond, into a single record. To make it more interesting, each song is a duet with another legendary artist — Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Mavis Staples among them, as well as more modern icons like Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile and St. Vincent.
Having this many songs and collaborations may seem a bit much at first, but they're all unique and tie together nicely, while showcasing the variety of genres Crow is capable of lending her voice to, and the number of different artists that connect with her.
"Prove You Wrong," which opens up the album, starts off with an upbeat single acoustic guitar and a power-anthem chorus sung by Crow, Morris and rock goddess Stevie Nicks. The tune drifts into drums and an electric guitar, while the trio sing about showing their ex-lovers how they're doing after heartbreak: "I've got my mind made up, got my high heels on, it wouldn't take much to prove you wrong."
"Live Wire," with Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples, is a midtempo love tune with Raitt playing her signature bottleneck guitar, Crow on acoustic guitar and Staples taking charge with her growling vocals. "Tell Me When It's Over," with country outlaw Chris Stapleton, is a rock/funk-sounding song with drums, electric guitars, a synthesizer and both musicians vocals hitting the high notes, while "Still the Good Old Days," on which Joe Walsh looks at appreciating life and the days ahead, has a heavy electric and drum beat rotation.
The two most interesting songs on Threads, though, are "Redemption Day," and "Wouldn't Want to Be Like You." The former is a song both Crow and Johnny Cash each sang on their own, but has been transformed and stripped down to a chillingly beautiful duet between the two; primarily piano and vocal based, its lyrics capture the state of humanity and relates to today's day and age even more. "Fire rages in the streets, and swallows everything it meets… come leaders, come you men of great, let us hear you pontificate, your many virtues laid to waste," Cash sings. The latter, a positively surprising collaboration with St. Vincent, sounds like something from the 1990s, with drums, bass and a whole lot of sass and attitude.
While it might be daunting to have close to 20 duets of mixed genres all on one album, it works for Crow and her crew. These collaborations show flair and offer a little bit of something for everyone, making Threads that much more appealing. (The Valory Music Co.)