Sheryl Crow takes some “Detours”

I’ve always taken Sheryl
for granted. When I stumble
across a song of hers while switching radio
stations in my car, I always let the radio rest there on her voice.
I sing along and enjoy her singles until either a commercial interrupts or some other song
I don’t like nearly as much comes on, prompting me to start the
channel-changing game again. But that’s it. I know all the
lyrics to most of her more popular songs, but I’ve never owned a Sheryl
Crow album. But that will change soon: Crow’s new album, Detours, debuts on February 5, and with its
release, I intend to change my ways.

Crow has the kind of voice
and musical spirit that are homespun. You feel what she feels,
and when it’s good, it’s good, and when she’s down and blue, you’re down
and blue too, yet you listen anyway because the music draws you in.
When she left Las Vegas, you did too, and when she says that every day
is a winding road, you don’t doubt her.

The first official single from Detours is

“Love Is Free.” The song is inspired by both the natural catastrophe
and the human catastrophe of the lack of immediate federal response
to Hurricane Katrina. “Love Is Free” sounds ready for radio, even though the subject matter may not be so top 40. Here’s the video:

Here’s one reason I won’t allow myself
to take Sheryl Crow for granted anymore: In February 2006,
Crow announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a sobering announcement, especially
coming on the heels of Melissa Etheridge‘s diagnosis two years prior.
The announcements made a whole lot of women stop and think.
Now, two years later to the month, comes Crow’s new album. She has successfully undergone treatment and adopted a son.
New mom. New album. New lease on life. New fan. I must also mention
that in the same month that Crow publicly announced her breast cancer
diagnosis, she also publicly announced her split from Lance Armstrong. Goodness.
That must have been a February to remember. Luckily the month of February
has the fewest days.

Crow’s last album, Wildflower,
debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It will be tough
to top that, even though the new album is getting favorable reviews. What’s different this time
around is that Sheryl Crow is putting her music where her conscience
is these days. And her conscience is on the social and political
matters affecting the world we all have to share with each other.

Another song from the album, “God Bless This Mess,” is much more Dylanesque in its message and folksy delivery:

The album also gives us a glimpse
into what her life has been like for the last two years. She tells the story
of lost love and her public breakup with Armstrong, and conveys the the stark reality
of her treatment for cancer. Though the personal and political themes may seem somewhat disjointed, the album is likely to flow nicely, since Crow has reunited with producer
Bill Bottrell
. Botrell produced Crow’s debut album, Tuesday Night
Music Club
. That album gave Crow her first single, “Leaving Las
and her first Grammy Award for “All I Wanna Do.”

I can’t wait for Tuesday
so that I can right the wrongs of my past. I’m eager to be a fan of Sheryl
Crow’s on the first day of the new release, so I can let her know that I’m sorry for listening
for free for all these years. My purchase of Detours will be
my way of telling her that I appreciate her style and grace and class
in the face of real adversity. Oh, and she’s a pretty darn good singer and
songwriter — not to mention pleasant on the eye.