All I wanna do is keep on rock­ing

Sh­eryl Crow is a woman on a mis­sion, writes

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER - Kathy McCabe

Sh­eryl Crow was be­ing cheeky when she pro­posed the ti­tle of Make Rock Great Again for her joint tour of Aus­tralia with good friend Melissa Etheridge.

“You know what, it’s al­most a cringe-wor­thy ti­tle con­sid­er­ing it was in­spired dare I say, by our Pres­i­dent,” the ac­claimed rocker says.

The ti­tle may be a mis­chievous ap­pro­pri­a­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign slo­gan by an artist who has never shied away from po­lit­i­cal en­gage­ment. Yet there is a mod­icum of de­spair un­der­scor­ing its ral­ly­ing cry. Can rock ever hope to match the pop cul­ture power of hip hop and dance mu­sic? Even the true be­liev­ers doubt it.

“I feel like with the dwin­dling of at­ten­tion spans, you end up with hooks that have to change ev­ery six sec­onds in­stead of tra­di­tional song­writ­ing,” Crow says.

“I also think it’s un­for­tu­nate we don’t get to hear too much rock any more, par­tic­u­larly from women. It’s much more fash­ion­able to look great in a cos­tume and be able to dance and there’s def­i­nitely a place for that.

“I love Haim, they are out do­ing great work. But I’m not go­ing to be all doom and gloom about it, I’ll just keep do­ing what I am do­ing.”

Af­ter years try­ing to catch a break in Los An­ge­les, Crow worked as a back­ing singer for Michael Jack­son on his Bad tour. She won a record deal with a ma­jor la­bel but her first at­tempt at her de­but al­bum was shelved for be­ing too soft­rock. By the time her of­fi­cial de­but al­bum Tues­day Night Mu­sic Club in 1993, another woman armed with a gui­tar and a bluesy growl was poised for her break­through with her fourth al­bum. Melissa Etheridge had been build­ing a fan­base since the re­lease of her self-ti­tled de­but in 1988 but Yes I Am would be­come her big­gest sell­ing re­lease.

As well as per­form­ing at Blues­fest in By­ron Bay, these women of rock will join forces for an arena tour which marks Crow’s first per­for­mances in Aus­tralia for a decade.

Ask her how long they have known each other and she jokes it’s “90 years”.

“There’s a lot we have in com­mon. We both have had breast cancer. And both have had to claw our way up in a very male dom­i­nated in­dus­try and both have had longevity,” she says. “For me, and dare I say, for her as well, these gigs are go­ing to be a cel­e­bra­tion of that ... and su­per fun.”

Home is Nashville and while her sons Wy­att, 10, and Levi, 7, en­joy mu­sic, Crow says their pres­ence in her life means “I don’t feel it the same way I used to”.

“I love watch­ing my kids and play­ing with my kids ... Mu­sic can be a part of that I am able to turn on and off,” she says. “My kids are en­joy­ing mu­sic, hav­ing it on the back­ground but they don’t love it all the time. And they don’t love that part of Mommy’s life when I am gone.”

The mu­si­cian has been a vocal cam­paigner and ac­tivist both po­lit­i­cally and so­cially for most of her ca­reer and re­cently weighed into the #Gram­mysTooMale de­bate sug­gest­ing the academy should con­sider rein­tro­duc­ing fe­male cat­e­gories to re­dress the im­bal­ance of win­ners.

Women won only 17 of the 86 awards on of­fer at the 2018 Gram­mys, with academy pres­i­dent Neil Port­now spark­ing out­rage with his clum­sily worded re­sponse sug­gest­ing fe­males in the in­dus­try needed to “step up” to im­prove gen­der rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

“The Gram­mys are a lot more than the awards that get seen on tele­vi­sion and a lot of women get over­looked by virtue of them tak­ing away the fe­male cat­e­gories,” she says.

“This is a con­ver­sa­tion that is go­ing to be had whether the peo­ple in charge like it or not.” BLUES­FEST, BY­RON BAY, APRIL 1 AND ICC THE­ATRE, SYD­NEY, APRIL 7

“( We) both have had to claw our way

up in a very male dom­i­nated in­dus­try

Sh­eryl Crow has not per­formed in Aus­tralia in a decade.

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