100 Miles from Memphis is such a new direction for Sheryl Crow’s music that when the singer started to prepare for a tour, the old arrangements of her classic hits felt out of place next to the new songs.
So instead of dropping them from her set, she re-worked them to move them closer to the sound of Memphis.
“You always wonder if people are going to be purists and be a little disappointed that they’re not hearing it exactly like on the record,” she says, “and it has not been like that, and that’s been really encouraging to me.”
The excitement in her voice is palpable as she describes the songs in her two-hour set. She calls Everyday is a Winding Road a “full-on gospel romp,” and compares the new rendition of A Change Would Do You Good to something by the Staples Singers.
Although 100 Miles from Memphis is a different approach for Crow, it’s close to home, literally. The title comes from the fact that her hometown of Kennett, Missouri, was only a two-hour drive from one of America’s most-celebrated music cities.
The proximity gives the album its soulful feel and this distance that makes the material Crow’s own, from the light reggae lilt of Eye to Eye to the sunny soul of Long Road Home, to the sultry funk of Sign Your Name, originally made popular in the ’80s by Terence Trent D’Arby.
“We were just batting around ideas for covers,” says Crow, “I’ve never heard anybody else do it, and if I had, I wouldn’t have done it.”