Sheryl Crow: 100 Miles and Counting

Think back to 1993. The record industry was still riding the wave of the CD boom and there was plenty of money in the budget to sign –if not necessarily nurture – new artists. The labels in those days took your basic throw-a-handful-against-the-wall-and-see-who-sticks approach to A&R. Most heavily hyped signees found themselves back on the street after an album or two.

I was editing a California music magazine at the time. The editors were charged with keeping a close eye on what was going on in the Golden State, and there were plenty of buzz bands coming out of Los Angeles and San Francisco. At some stage, we took notice of a sleeper record called Tuesday Night Music Club – just the sort of album that more often than not got lost in the avalanche of releases. It didn’t cause much of a stir out of the box, but it kept crawling up, up, up the charts. So we decided to get the story on the woman whose name was on the cover: Sheryl Crow.

I honestly no longer recall the name of the writer who was sent out on the road with her, but I remember he came back enraptured. Turned out he wasn’t alone. Released in the summer of ’93, Tuesday Night Social Club didn’t really soar until the following spring, but it ultimately became a major hit and launched a rich and enduring career. (A little “Leaving Las Vegas,” anyone?)

More than a decade and a half have passed and six more Sheryl Crow studio albums have appeared. The most recent – a soul-fired 12-track set called 100 Miles from Memphis is available at Starbucks. Against some pretty severe odds, Crow has flourished while others pulled up short. It’s a testimony to the heart of the artist and the allure of her music.

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