Sheryl Crow

100 Miles from Memphis

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The title and sound of 100 Miles from Memphis can’t help but recall Dusty in Memphis, Dusty Springfield’s 1969 blue-eyed soul classic, but Sheryl Crow’s 2010 album isn’t quite a strict homage to Dusty. Crow draws from many of the same ‘60s sources as Springfield, but she also dabbles in reggae (thanks to the chunky guitar of Keith Richards on “Eye to Eye”) and digs into the cool, seductive ‘70s groove of Hi, channeling Al Green on a sleek reworking of Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Sign Your Name,” complete with support from Justin Timberlake. Add to this the extended funk coda of “Roses and Moonlight,” the hippie singalong of “Long Road Home” and one of Crow’s signature good-time social-conscious raising anthems in “Say What You Want” and 100 Miles from Memphis boasts a considerably more expansive palette than Dusty in Memphis, yet it’s all bonded by its smooth, soulful groove due in part to the co-production from Doyle Bramhall II and Justin Stanley. This pair gives 100 Miles a sound that’s recognizably Southern yet has a distinctly sunny vibe not too far removed from Crow’s sun-kissed debut Tuesday Night Music Club, of which this shares a similar spirit, if not sensibility. Tuesday Night Music Club is loose and open where this is focused and sustained, maintaining its charming, relaxed groove from beginning to end. There’s an ease to this record that’s not often heard on Sheryl Crow’s albums and its light touch is thoroughly appealing.

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