"I'm in a much more positive head space," she tells Billboard of recording "All That for This," out March 26. "I'm not as angry as I was a couple of years ago"
In 2010, Ohio native Crystal Bowersox gained a lot of attention and a lot of fans as the runner-up on "American Idol," which led to the release of her debut "Farmers' Daughter," which was hailed by critics and fans alike. The singer returns with the release of "All That For This" on March 26.
The album is the first issued under her new label affiliation with Shanachie Records, as well as her first with producer Steve Berlin. Working with the former member of Los Lobos was a move that was very beneficial to the singer's creative mood. "I think working with Steve was great. He's such a laid back character. I call him a 'mellow fellow.' He's a rhythmic genius. He's influenced a lot by Latin music and South African music, as well as roots music. He brought a new flavor to my tunes."
Once again, the genre-lines on the album are very blurry. She laughs when it's said that she is a little tough to pigeon-hole.
"It's tough for marketing," she says with a smile, "but I gotta be who I am. I grew up with all of those flavors. My mom was a country fan, so I had pop that I grew up with, but also Merle Haggard and Patsy Cline, so all of those influences are present in my music. Then, you had my dad, who was a blues guy. So, it all plays into my style. It's all there. But, I don't think that music should be pigeon holed that way. I think that expression and creativity are meant to be unleashed in a way that is full of freedom."
Bowersox admitted that the mood on "All That For This" is lighter than on her debut -- in places. "The music really represents where I am in my life right now. I'm in a much more positive head space. I'm not as angry as I was a couple of years ago about certain things that had happened to me in my life. I'm really grateful for all the good things, and the blessings that have been bestowed upon me. I want to share that with my fans. I want them to feel good when they listen to my music, but at the same time, there's songs like 'Shine,' where I'm talking about my son's biological father, who took off. Those things affected me deeply, and it affected my spirit. But, I don't want to write songs that point fingers anymore. I don't want to be that person. I want to share the positive things in life."
Among the highlights on the album include "Stitches," a vocal and written collaboration with Jakob Dylan. "He was wonderful. He said it wasn't a song that he would have typically done, but he loved it. He liked what it was about as he's a father himself. He's got four boys, and I'm sure each of the have had stitches. He came in, knocked it out, and that was that. My husband and I wrote that song together, and it just wrote itself. It came out in a short amount of time. I think anyone who has a child, or anyone that they care about - understands the idea of wanting to make things better when something isn't right – can relate to the song."
Fans can also expect to hear a cover of "Here's Where The Story Ends," a track from English-based 1990s group The Sundays. She credits that selection to her producer. "That was a suggestion by Steve," she says. "I was six years old when that song was on the charts. I honestly didn't remember the song. I think it was before I really took an interest in music, but when he played it for me, I connected with the lyric. I liked the poppy happiness of the tune. The lyrics are dark and melancholy, but the song is happy, and I like the mix of the two."
Bowersox will be touring to support the disc, and also will be taking to the stage to play Patsy Cline in the Broadway adaptation of "Always, Patsy Cline" later this year. She's very excited to do so.
"I've got big boots to fill," she admits. "That was an incredible day that [I learned] they wanted me to play Patsy. I'm still coming to terms with it. I think I was doing cartwheels around the house, or something. It's going to be a challenge for sure, as I've never done theater. I'm looking forward to the challenge, and hopefully I will do Patsy Cline justice."