WHO IS SHE? Michael Jackson’s former backup singer. The onetime leader of the Tuesday Night Music Club. The woman who once claimed all she wanted to do was have some fun – but worked hard enough to sell more than 50 million albums over the past quarter-century.
WHAT IS THIS? Her 11th studio album — and if you believe her recent interviews, her final disc. If so, it’s a fittingly celebratory sendoff, with Crow welcoming a long guest list of contemporaries, friends and followers, including Stevie Nicks, Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt, Chris Stapleton, Eric Clapton, Sting, Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, Joe Walsh, Emmylou Harris, Gary Clark Jr., Brandi Carlile and more.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A well-earned musical victory lap. Freed from having to do all the heavy lifting, Crow lets her hair down and stretches out, bouncing between styles and peppering her set list with covers of George Harrison’s Beware of Darkness, Bob Dylan’s Everything is Broken, Kris Kristofferson’s Border Lord and The Rolling Stones’ The Worst.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Tuesday Night Music Club: Allstar Edition.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On a playlist with other superstar-collaboration albums — if you get enough of them into the mix, eventually they’ll all merge into one giant jam session.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Welcoming, rootsy, earthy, sincere, familiar, nostalgic, co-operative, organic, loose, endearing.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The swampy Live Wire with Raitt and Staples; the country-rocker Tell Me When It’s Over featuring Stapleton; the mournful Cash duet Redemption Day; the boogie-fuelled Everything is Broken with Jason Isbell, the blues-rocker Still the Good Old Days with Walsh, the artsy funk-rock of Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You with St. Vincent — and a few more besides. Simply put, it’s her biggest crowdpleaser in ages.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘She should make a couple of more albums — if she can make them like this.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? More often than you listened to her last few records.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A TV SHOW, WHAT KIND OF SHOW WOULD IT BE? A PBS pledge-week special. Assuming it isn’t one already.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Considering the star power on display, it’s a pretty sweet deal.