Sheryl Crow Looks Inward On The Globe Sessions

Folk-rock legend Bob Dylan offered singer/songwriter a song and some food for thought.

MILAN, Italy -- Bob Dylan made the offer. Sheryl Crow gladly accepted it.

And, from that moment on, Crow's latest collection of music would take on a new title and

an altered vision, one that finds the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter exploring

herself and her sound perhaps further than ever before.

Crow's third record, The Globe Sessions [Tuesday (Sept. 29)] -- an album that offers a more

introspective and analytical Crow -- was all but completed and slated for release, under

the title Riverwide, when the phone rang, she said.

"It was Bob Dylan's manager," the pop singer/songwriter said recently at a press

conference here. "He called and said, 'Bob has this song. He thinks it might do for you.' "

The song, "Mississippi," was an outtake from the folk-rock icon's latest and highly

acclaimed album, Time Out of Mind. According to Crow, Dylan loved the song but

he wasn't satisfied with his recording of it, so he offered the tune to her.

"When I heard it, I loved it. I thought it might sound like something on [the '60s Dylan

albums] [The] Freewheelin' [Bob Dylan] or Highway 61 Revisited. Very

classic Bob Dylan. I felt flattered that he himself had a song that he loved and didn't put

on his album and thought I might record it," said Crow, 36. "He was a great influence on

me. Although I loved playing with the Rolling Stones, with Eric Clapton or Stevie Nicks,

he was really a heavy influence and a great master to study onstage."

Crow explained that, after hearing Dylan's song, she went back into the studio and

recorded the tune, along with two more tracks later included on the album, "Anything But

Down" and

HREF=",_Sheryl/Crash_And_Burn.ram">"Crash and

Burn" (RealAudio excerpt).

It was at that point she decided to change the title of the 11-track album: "Then I felt I

didn't want to give it any imagery. I felt it better to tag it by a time and place as opposed to

a beautiful word or some image," Crow said.

So it became The Globe Sessions, after the studio where the album was recorded

in New York City, Crow said.

Those sessions, and all that had preceded them, opened Crow up to a new world of

songwriting and recording, she added. For instance, while she was working on The

Globe Sessions, she discovered the melodic potential of writing music on a bass.

"I grew up playing piano and got a degree in classical piano. Now my instrument of

choice is bass, because I want to write songs thinking more about melody," she said.

"When a person writes on guitar or on piano, I think his instinct is always to put beautiful

chords together and then write the melody around that," Crow added. "But when you're

writing on bass, you're really forced to construct a string melody that provides the root

that can be filled up later."

The new album offers a more intimate and introspective view of Crow's world than

did her previous efforts, she added.

In 1993, Crow's multi-platinum debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club,

presented a wry set of songs, such as the easy-going, 1994 Grammy-winning

Record of the Year, "All I Wanna Do." Her eponymous 1996 follow-up delivered a raucous, bluesy sound and scored big with such hits as "If It It Makes You Happy."

On The Globe Sessions, however, she has taken a different approach, one that

finds the singer increasingly reflecting on her ideas and opinions. It's a sign, she said, of

a songwriter who is maturing and coming to terms with her life.

"If you look at each [of my] albums and you were trying to conclude who the personality

on that album was, on this album you'd get a clear picture of somebody who's more

quiet, in an introspective place," Crow said. "In my last album, you'd find someone who's

frustrated, a little wild and unpredictable."

But she pointed out that the intimate lyrics of The Globe Sessions should not be

taken literally. In some cases, she said, she chooses an alter ego to get across her

perception and viewpoints.

"These days you can become bigger than your material, so that people think that all your

songs are autobiographical," she said. "I'm a songwriter and storyteller. I like to create a

character that can be an alter ego for the things I've lived and my perceptions.

Sometimes I like to write in the first person and sometimes I like to write something more

universal than personal experiences. I think none of what you write should be taken

literally. The listener should be able to find his own meaning in it without being told what

the song literally means."