NASHVILLE BOUND

Rocker Sheryl Crow plans a move to Music City to embrace her country roots

Every day is a winding road, Sheryl Crow sang in one of her biggest hits - and it turns out her road will soon bring her to Nashville.

Sheryl is planning to move to Music City from Los Angeles, although she hasn't set a date. And don't think for a second this multiplatinum pop-rocker will be out of place in country music's capital - she's been showing her country roots ever since her Grammy-winning first hit, "All I Wanna Do," which featured a prominent steel guitar. "I was exposed to country my whole life," she explains. "I grew up in a real small town in southern Missouri, and our hometown radio stations all played country music.

"Of course, being a kid at that time, I just wanted to hear Foreigner and Boston! Then I got into The Rolling Stones, who were influenced by country music. And all of a sudden I found myself gravitating to Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. From that, I got into Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family."

Country has always found its way into Sheryl's music. She wrote "Father Sun," which appeared on Wynonna's second album, Tell Me Why, and even received a country Grammy nomination this year for her own rendition of Hank Williams' "Long Gone Lonesome Blues."

Many of her own songs, such as "Anything But Down" and "It Don't Hurt," bear a strong country influence, and she hopes one day to make an entire album, she says, "in the style of The Carter Family."

Meanwhile, she's indulged her country passion by singing with Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle and Willie Nelson. "I feel comfortable with Willie," she says. "And I admire his songwriting. I want to be in the tradition of what he does - a singer, songwriter, performer, player, music appreciator."

But one of the strongest lures country holds for Sheryl are the many strong female talents with whom she can collaborate. She's got a good head start on that - her new album, C'mon, C'mon, features guest turns from Emmylou Harris and Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines. The Chicks had already appeared on Sheryl's 1999 Live In Central Park CD, and have sung her hit "Strong Enough" in their own concerts.

"It's great, because when I was a kid, I didn't get a chance to play with a lot of women," she says, "and there weren't that many women to actually aspire to be like. So it's really a joy to get to go out and play with women who are extremely accomplished."

--Tom Roland

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