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Video: Sheryl Crow and Justin Timberlake Record New Track

Plus: singer tells behind-the-scenes stories of her new album

July 19, 2010 5:38 PM ET

Sheryl Crow's seventh studio album, 100 Miles From Memphis, is a nod to the singer's southern roots that features all-star collaborations and a cover of Michael Jackson's "I Want You Back." "A lot of soul music got played on Memphis stations, particularly at night, and that's what we were exposed to," Crow tells Rolling Stone, adding she was inspired by Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield because "They were so amazingly equipped to write from an emotional place and have it be sexy to be about something — and that's what, in some ways, is missing from music today."

Justin Timberlake popped into the studio to sing on the Terence Trent D'Arby cover "Sign Your Name" (watch footage of Timberlake in the studio with Crow above). "It's dope, I like her voice so much," he says after wrapping a take. And Keith Richards joined Crow at New York's Electric Lady Studio to lay down guitar on "Eye to Eye." Beyond the fact that Crow calls the Stones "crusaders for me," she says the group loomed large on the album for another reason. "Writing the lyrics, it was like having a term paper hanging over my head," Crow says. "But I saw the documentary of making Exile on Main Street, and there's a scene where Mick has all these tunes that don't have any lyrics, and it made me feel so much better. That's one of my favorite records of all time, and I figure, 'Well, if he had a suitcase full of songs he had to write lyrics for and it turned out that good, there's some hope here.'"

Crow credits producers Justin Stanley and Doyle Bramhall II for shaping the disc's sound and freeing up Crow, who has normally produced herself in the past, to focus on the music. Crow was so invigorated by working with the duo that she recalls pulling "a full Kanye" at an awards show and speaking out about their brilliance in the studio. Check out Sheryl recalling her "Kanye moment" in the video clip below.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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