Sheryl Crow

Tuesday Night Music Club

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Sheryl Crow earned her recording contract through hard work, gigging as a backing vocalist for everyone from Don Henley to Michael Jackson before entering the studio with Hugh Padgham to record her debut album. As it turned out, things didn't go entirely as planned. Instead of adhering to her rock & roll roots, the record was a slick set of contemporary pop, relying heavily on ballads. Upon hearing the completed album, Crow convinced A&M not to release the album, choosing to cut a new record with producer Bill Bottrell. Along with several Los Angeles-based songwriters and producers, including David Baerwald, David Ricketts, and Brian McLeod, Bottrell was part of a collective dubbed "the Tuesday Night Music Club." Every Tuesday, the group would get together, drink beer, jam, and write songs. Crow became part of the Club and, within a few months, she decided to craft her debut album around the songs and spirit of the collective. It was, for the most part, an inspired idea, since Tuesday Night Music Club has a loose, ramshackle charm that her unreleased debut lacked. At its best -- the opening quartet of "Run, Baby, Run," "Leaving Las Vegas," "Strong Enough," and "Can't Cry Anymore," plus the deceptively infectious "All I Wanna Do" -- are remarkable testaments to their collaboration, proving that roots rock can sound contemporary and have humor. That same spirit, however, also resulted in some half-finished songs, and the preponderance of those tracks make Tuesday Night Music Club better in memory than it is in practice. Still, even with the weaker moments, Crow manages to create an identity for herself -- a classic rocker at heart but with enough smarts to stay contemporary. And that's the lasting impression Tuesday Night Music Club leaves.

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