The antiques-packed barn on Sheryl Crow’s 50-acre Nashville property is home to both horse stables and the gorgeously appointed upstairs studio where she recorded her last three albums, including 2019’s Threads. She recently sat down in that barn (where Kacey Musgraves also recorded Golden Hour) for a revealing, in-depth conversation with Rolling Stone senior writer Brian Hiatt — the latest episode of the Rolling Stone Interview series, presented by Dodge.
In the episode, Crow talks about her entire career, from the fraught recording process of her debut, 1993’s Tuesday Night Music Club, to the all-star collaborations on Threads, which she says is her final full-length album (though she intends to release plenty of music in non-album formats going forward). “This album, for me, was about as emotional of a project as I’ve ever made,” Crow says. “So emotional, it’s hard to talk about it sometimes.”
She describes trying to record vocals for a posthumous duet with Johnny Cash on her apocalyptic song “Redemption Day,” which was the moment she realized she wanted Threads to be her finale: “One night I was in the studio and it was late,” she says. “My kids were already in bed. I was in there by myself. And I just felt [Johnny’s] presence. I do think there’s a very thin veil between all the spiritual realms. And I just felt the weight and breadth and profundity of him singing those words at this moment. I sang along with him and I found my place in it. And when I was done, I called [producer Steve Jordan], and I said, ‘I want this to be the last. I don’t even want to hear myself sing after this. I want this to be it.’ “
She also touched on her New Jersey weekends with her friends Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen, her history with pop radio (“When I turned 40, all the girls on the radio were 17”), dealing with depression and harassment in the early days of her career, and much more. “As an artist, part of you doesn’t want to be joyful,” Crow says. “Because you think you’ll never write a great song again. And you want to be tortured. I just finally had to grapple with the fact that wasn’t my story. That was my mythology, but it wasn’t my story.”