One highlight of my early days back in KY following grad school was gathering on Friday nights with college friends at Thomas’s house. We mostly played games, drank lots of Coca-Cola, inhaled first- and/or second-hand cigarette smoke, and listened to music. I didn’t drop by every week, and probably attended less often once I moved to Georgetown at the very end of 93, but it was always fun to hang out there.
In the fall of 93, Tonya, Thomas’s girlfriend at the time, plopped a disk from a new and unfamiliar artist into the player. She was definitely proselytizing on the album’s behalf, but I had to admit that, after several plays through, there was a wide and interesting range of pretty good songs on it. And so I became an early (but not nearly so early as Tonya) adopter of Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club. “Leaving Las Vegas” and the fun, loopy “All I Wanna Do” made it to mix tapes before the latter song (and Sheryl’s career) blew up in the fall of 94.
(An aside: I like “Leaving Las Vegas” just fine, but hearing it always makes me think of seeing Shawn Colvin at Bogart’s in Cincinnati in the summer of 95—maybe the first concert I saw with Martha. Colvin did a really funny bit mid-show, noting the similarity in chord progressions among several then-recent songs released by women, including “LLV” and Jill Sobule’s “I Kissed a Girl.”)
In the following years, I picked up Sheryl Crow and The Globe Sessions. “My Favorite Mistake” contains what I think is her finest musical moment, that resolution about three minutes in, right after she sings, “…it’s your laughter, won’t let me go, so I’m holding on this way” (there are hints of it earlier in the song, too). I really liked “If It Makes You Happy” and “A Change” back in the day (and still do to a reasonable extent), but I don’t think their lyrics have worn well over time—she’s trying to be clever but in the end comes across simply as smartass. On the other hand, that eponymous release does have the tune of hers I like best, “Everyday Is a Winding Road.” The lines about being “a stranger in my own life” and “wondering if all the things I’ve seen were ever real” ring true and feel, well, real. I hadn’t realized until putting this together that Neil Finn is singing backup here, but I believe I can tell it’s him on the chorus. Cool video, too.