Monday, June 20, 2011


Sheryl Crow's latest, 100 Miles From Memphis, was a bit of a bust, but the marketing plan already had figured in the tour DVD, so for those still interested, here it is.  The album was Crow's homage to her childhood music, southern soul, having been born a hundred miles get it.  In fact she can get pretty funky, and does a fine job on both the album and in concert in that 70's groove.  The trouble is, she didn't come up with really good songs to back it up.  Everything on the album was good, just not particularly memorable.  So considering this concert DVD and the tour its from featured much of the album, it's stymied from the start.

The big surprise is that guitar slinger Doyle Bramhall II is on board as Crow's foil.  So we get him providing the spicy licks, and lots of face time with Crow as she shares the mic for harmony lines.  Crow herself actually steps away from the instruments for lots of the set, dabbling only in a little keyboards and guitar, with her band stoked with top L.A. players.  Actually it's kind of odd she recorded the live set in L.A.'s Pantages Theatre instead of Memphis, but Mavis Staples she ain't.

With the lesser album tracks so prevalent, it's no surprise that the fireworks here come from her past hits.  It's actually quite fun to hear them with this big soul band, the horns and groove players adding a lot to the rearranged hits such as My Favorite Mistake, Everyday Is A Winding Road and If It Makes You Happy.  Everybody gets into the songs because they are strong, and proven.  Crow has shown she can write good stuff, and it already is somewhat soulful.  It seems she was trying too hard to be that Southern Girl.  More of the best moments here are when she and the backing singers get into Marvin Gaye's Got To Give It Up and her old boss Michael Jackson's I Want You Back.  She might have been born near Memphis, but truly, she's much more comfortable in L.A.

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