- - Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sometimes a move from pop to country is seamless. Jon Bon Jovi succeeded with “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” and Darius Rucker is having a fine post-Hootie and the Blowfish second act as a country star.

But it doesn’t always work out that way. “Feels Like Home,” Sheryl Crow’s first ever country album, failed to cross over, even though the 2013 effort featured a dozen strong collaborations with such noted artists as Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Brooks & Dunn, Dwight Yoakam and the The Dixie Chicks.

“You can’t control what what people will like,” Miss Crow told The Washington Times. “You can only follow your gut when you make music.”

The 55-year-old Grammy winner, who will perform Wednesday at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, has returned to what has worked for her in the past with her 10th album, aptly titled “Be Myself,” for which she re-teamed with producers Jeff Trott and Tchad Blake, with whom she worked on her 1996 self-titled 1996 album and 1998’s The Globe Sessions.” The catchy song “Roller Skate” has the casual vibe of her smash “All I Want to Do,” and “Strangers Again” would fit perfectly on her aforementioned eponymous release.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with Jeff and Tchad,” Miss Crow said. “The three of us have a connection. They know that I’m not calculating.”



The artist claims that her concern these days is not attaining radio play for her newer material, but rather making music “that has no parameters.”

“I don’t think about genres,” she said. “I’m not worried about success. I just concern myself with trying to make the best songs that I can.”

Miss Crow realizes that she has been more successful than most. She started out as a backup singer for Michael Jackson before going on to sell more than 50 million albums as a solo act, racking up 9 Grammys on a staggering 32 nods and sharing the stage with such icons as The Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson and Prince.

“I caught on during the right era, which was when people bought albums,” she said.

Despite some initial hard times, her label refused to give up on the aspiring solo artist. Her 1993 album “Tuesday Night Music Club” didn’t catch on initially, but A&M Records worked the disc for more than a year, even to the point of sending it out four different times to music journalists over during a 12-month span.

“If I were an unknown now, who put out an album that didn’t do well out of the gate, it would be over,” Miss Crow of the topsy-turvy nature of the 21st century music business. “Nobody pushes albums today like they did back then.”

It isn’t easy for Miss Crow to craft a set list since she has a number of hits her audience expects, which she has to balance with newer tunes she is now promoting.

“That’s a good problem to have,” the artist said. “I don’t get tired of playing songs like ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ or ‘Soak Up the Sun.’ I’m thankful I have them. It’s a balancing act.”

So is being a parent to two sons.

“Things change when you have children,” Miss Crow said. “You want to be at home with them. It isn’t easy doing it all, but it’s rewarding.

“It’s always challenging, but I would rather have it be challenging than boring.”

Sheryl Crow’s By Myself Tour comes to Wolf Trap Wednesday evening. Tickets are $45 to $95 by going to Ticketfly.com.

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