Sheryl Crow is back in Nevada for show at Harveys
August 20, 2008
Highlighting Sheryl Crow’s detours and winding road since she bid Nevada adieu ” at least symbolically ” 15 years ago doesn’t do justice to how much ground she’s covered.
Of course this isn’t the first time Crow has been back to Nevada since she debuted with “Tuesday Night Music Club” (featuring “Leaving Las Vegas”). Nevertheless, she’s back to headline Harveys Outdoor Concert Series on Saturday, Oct. 23, outside the casino in Stateline.
Since “All I Wanna Do” became a surprise hit in 1994, propelling “Tuesday Night Music Club” to No. 3 on the pop charts and Crow to stardom, she has released five platinum studio albums, a greatest-hits collection and has won nine Grammys. She’s also been through a high-profile relationship, battled cancer and established herself as a political activist.
So it’s little surprise that the singer-songwriter who wrote “Everyday is a Winding Road” characterizes her musical career as a journey of self-discovery and named her most recent album, “Detours.”
On Feb. 5, Crow released “Detours,” which debuted at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling about 92,000 copies its first week, according to Wikipedia. On her Web site, the singer says she drew inspiration for the album from “how I feel things are going in the world and what’s happened to me the last couple of years.”
The inspirations for the songs on “Detours” include the demise of a relationship, Crow’s adoption of her baby (the namesake and guest star of “Lullaby for Wyatt”), her bout with breast cancer, the war in Iraq (Ahmed Al Hirmi sings the Arabic lyrics on “Peace Be Upon Us”), environmental disaster (Ben Harper guest-stars on “Gasoline”) and Hurricane Katrina.
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“Detours” reunites Crow with Bill Bottrell, who also produced “Tuesday Night Music Club.”
A graduate of the University of Missouri, Crow was an elementary school music teacher who sang in bands on the weekends, according to Wikipedia. A producer used the singer in advertising jingles before she landed a supporting spot on Michael Jackson’s “Bad” Tour, joining the singer for duets of “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”
After her label rejected her first attempt at a debut album, Crow was dating producer Kevin Gilbert and playing with an impromptu group on Tuesday nights ” the inspiration for her debut album’s title. While the album prompted questions and dischord over songwriting credits, it launched Crowe’s solo career, hitting No. 3 and winning her three Grammys: for Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal.
Crow released her self-titled second album in 1996, earning the Grammy for Best Rock Album, and “If It Makes You Happy” won for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. “The Globe Sessions” followed in 1998, with “Everyday Is a Winding Road” and “My Favorite Mistake” landing in the top 20.
“C’mon C’mon” came in 2002, with “Soak Up the Sun” and “Steve McQueen,” which earned Crow her second Best Female Rock Performance Grammy. Crow’s best-of collection recounted her hits to that point and generated new ones in two covers of Cat Stevens’ “The First Cut is the Deepest” (a rock version and a country version) and “Picture,” a duet with Kid Rock. Crow also dueted with Sting on “Always On Your Side,” which appears on “Wildflower” (2005).
More recently, Crow announced that she and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong had broken their engagement in February 2006. Crow adopted Wyatt earlier this year, saying, “I’m so excited to share with you guys that I’ve adopted a little boy,” on her Web site.
Last month, Crow was back in the news urging people to get involved with saving America’s wild mustangs ” an issue that hits close to home in Nevada.
“I think it will be a real shame when we look back and we don’t have these incredible species, and I guess my best hope would be that people, individuals, step up at this point and really protect these animals,” she says in the documentary “Saving the American Wild Horse,” according to The Associated Press. Crow, 46, who lives in Tennessee and owns a wild mustang named Colorado, said the animals are falling prey to big business’s drive for Western lands.
“If any of these politicians visited these sites where our indiginous animals are being slaughtered in an inhumane way and being sold for meat, I feel that there would be a different take and a different approach to what’s happening,” Crow said.
And in the past month, the Summer Olympics in Beijing have highlighted Crow’s music during broadcasts on Aug. 8, 14 and 19. Her “So Glad We Made It” is part of the Team USA soundtrack, and proceeds from downloads during the game benefitted U.S. Olympic athletes.
Crow also appeared on “The Today Show” on Aug. 1, and is one of the favorite musicians of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinios, the Democratic presidential candidate.
Crow’s publicist was not granting interview requests before Saturday’s concert.
The public image of a model-dating purveyor of polite soft rock that makes soccer mums swoon belies James Blunt’s biography and the evident angst that goes into his songs.
On his Web site, Blunt quotes musician Jeff Buckley: “Sensitivity isn’t being wimpy; it’s about being so painfully aware that a flea landing on a dog is like a sonic boom.”
In Blunt’s own words, “My music is autobiographical,” he said. “It’s my expression, and it’s for me. It’s a necessary expression; otherwise, I’d just be this Brit that just has a shell.”
“Just because I’ve been given the fickle title of celebrity, it doesn’t mean I’m any less human,” said the English singer, once romantically linked to supermodel Petra Nemcova, among others. “I go through the same thing, only my mother hears about it first now.”
While Blunt’s music has evoked comparisons of comets or rockets from few critics, the musician has ascended in the public consciousness like a shooting star.
Blunt recorded his debut album, “Back to Bedlam,” in 2003, and its release the next year attracted little critical attention, according to Wikipedia. The third single from the album, “You’re Beautiful,” however, debuted at No. 12 in the U.K., where it rose to No. 1 in six weeks. Across the Pond, the song climbed into the top 10 in the adult contemporary, top 40 and alternative charts. In 2006, Blunt became the first British artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 since Elton John with “Candle in the Wind 1997.”
The success of the single and “Back to Bedlam” put Blunt on the road.
“Touring is the most fun you can possibly have,” said Blunt, who joins Sheryl Crow and Toots & the Maytals for an outdoor concert Saturday, Aug. 23, outside Harveys Resort Casino. “It’s the best invention anyone ever came up with.”
Blunt wrote five new songs on the road, testing them in front of audiences while touring in support of “Bedlam.” He retreated to the Spanish island of Ibiza in 2006.
“It was the first minute to stop and look around at what had really happened after three years and have a think about it,” he said.
When it came time to follow “Back to Bedlam,” Blunt turned to Tom Rothrock, who produced the debut, but sought a new sound for his new album, bringing in his touring band, then overdubbing many of the instruments himself.
“I sat behind a piano or a guitar and played the band the songs, and described what I wanted from them,” he said. “We’d been touring together for two and a half years. They know exactly what it is I’m after, and it takes very little time for them to put the flesh on a skeleton.”
On his Web site, Blunt credits ’70s artists, including recent Tahoe visitors Steely Dan as well as Fleetwood Mac, Don McLean and Elton John, with inspiration for “All the Lost Souls,” which he released last year.
“The chorus sums it up,” the singer-songwriter said of the album’s closer, “I Can’t Hear the Music”: ” ‘And if I can’t hear the music and the audience is gone/I’ll dance here on my own.’ It’s about saying I’m in it for the passion. I’m in it for the love of it, and the audience may be a temporary thing.”
Rolling Stone lauded Blunt’s “undeniable gift for melody,” giving his debut three out of five stars, but his sophomore effort last year earned half a star less from Lake Tahoe Action’s chief competition, which said the singer’s ballads make “Coldplay seem like the Arctic Monkeys.”
Blunt was born in England, the son of a colonel in the British Army Air Corps, according to Wikipedia. He discovered music at Harrow School before the British army sponsored his attendance at the University of Bristol. Blunt earned his pilot’s license by age 16 and studied aerospace manufacturing engineering at Bristol.
As the army sponsored his university education, Blunt had to serve four years in the armed forces. He trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and received a commission in the Life Guards, a unit of the Household Cavalry, rising to the rank of captain. In 1999, Blunt served as an armored reconnaissance officer in Kosovo, directing forces and targeting Serb positions for bombing. He led the first squadron of troops into Pristina, the first British officer in the Kosovar capital.
According to the Web-based encyclopedia, Blunt brought his guitar to Kosovo, strapped to his tank and wrote “No Bravery,” a song that would appear on “Back to Bedlam,” while on duty.
Blunt also was captain of the Household Cavalry Alpine Ski Team in Verbier, Switzerland, and champion of the Royal Armoured Corps. In addition to his principal residence in Ibiza, Blunt now owns a chalet in Verbier, where he is “godfather” of one of the town’s new ski lifts.
“We go through this really amazing experience called life and we’re trying to understand it and understand why the hell we’re here,” Blunt said on his Web site. “I really love life. I really enjoy it, but it does trouble me, and as it goes and it ticks by ” it’s not very long ” you kind of wonder what you’re going to get out of it, where to look for greater depth and meaning, and why we do the things we do to fill it. I think we all experience that.”
Even listeners who don’t think they’ve heard of Toots & the Maytals are likely to be familiar with the reggae band’s work.
Toots & the Maytals, who join James Blunt and Sheryl Crow in Harveys Outdoor Concert Series on Saturday, Aug. 23, trace their roots back to the beginning of reggae. As such, their blend of gospel, ska, soul, reggae and rock, turns up all over the musical world. Even if fans don’t know “Monkey Man,” the group’s first international hit in 1970, they might have heard Sublime’s version of “54-46 Was My Number” or the Specials cover “Pressure Drop.” They also contributed a cover of “Let Down” to the Easy Star All Stars’ 2006 “OK Computer” tribute, “Radiodread.”
According to the band’s Web site, Frederick “Toots” Hibbert was born the youngest of seven children in May Pen, in the Clarendon parish of Jamaica. He grew up singing in a church choir before moving to Kingston in 1961 at the age of 16. There he met Henry “Raleigh” Gordon and Nathaniel “Jerry” McCarthy, and the trio recorded its first songs as the Vikings and the Flames.
The three debuted as the Maytals with “Never Grow Old ” Presenting the Maytals” which Clement “Coxsone” Dodd produced at Studio One in 1962-63. Dodd’s house band, the Skatalites, provided the backing.
The Maytals moved on to sessions with Prince Buster before releasing their sophomore album in 1965, but Hibbert’s arrest and imprisonment on drug charges interrupted the band’s career.
After Release from jail in 1967, the band changed its name to Toots and the Maytals, and began working with Chinese-Jamaican producer Leslie Kong, which yielded three albums and a number of singles over the next decade. The group appeared with Jimmy Cliff in “The Harder They Come” in 1972 and on the movie’s soundtrack.
Toots & the Maytals enjoyed a comeback through 1978-80 as the so-called Second Wave of ska raised their profile in the U.K. and the U.S. Toots & the Maytals disbanded in the early 1980s but re-formed in the next decade.
The band won the 2005 Grammy for Best Reggae Album with “True Love,” a retake of the classics, with Toots & the Maytals performing alongside a number of contemporary artists. Since then, Trojan released “Roots Reggae (The Early Jamaican Albums)” in 2005, with “World is Turning” the same year and “Light Your Light” in 2007, according to Wikipedia.