“How many people here are in their 30s?” Sheryl Crow demands of the audience, guitar slung across her back in the middle of a set at Toronto’s Budweiser stage. The response, while audible, is unimpressive.
She then asks about those in their 40s, to a slightly more substantial cheer. When Crow wonders aloud how many people are in their 50s, though, the roar is almost deafening. She grins, strumming the opening chords of “Still the Good Old Days,” a collaboration with Joe Walsh from her 11th studio album, Threads (out Aug. 30), about living it up in middle age. “But we’re still having fun, right?”
“Fun” has been a defining word in the 57-year-old multiplatinum, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter’s career (as has its frequent rhyme, “sun”), for better or worse. Crow’s beachy, upbeat songs have always had a healthy sense of levity. But “fun” has also become a backhanded compliment of sorts when it comes to discussions of her music -- a suggestion that her catalog and her songwriting are enjoyable but mostly trivial. Crow’s hits endure though, and nearly three decades into her career, she’s still fighting for the respect she deserves instead of being just another “woman in rock.”