Sheryl Crow is down ''Home for the Holidays'' -- The singer-songwriter says she'll never forsake country music

By Liane Bonin
Updated December 22, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
Sheryl Crow
Credit: Sheryl Crow: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Given all the goodies she received in 2003, Sheryl Crow won’t need to ask Santa for much. This year the singer, 41, won her ninth Grammy (”Steve McQueen” was named Best Female Rock Vocal) and landed in the top 10 of Billboard’s album chart with her greatest-hits compilation, ”The Very Best of Sheryl Crow.” Best of all, her biggest preholiday present is a brand new fan base: country music listeners. Her twangy duet with Kid Rock, ”Picture,” scored a County Music Award nomination, and she’s reportedly in talks with Mercury Nashville chairman Luke Lewis about recording her very own country album.

So it’s not surprising that Crow decided to join No Doubt, Mary J. Blige, Enrique Iglesias, and others in giving back a little by performing on CBS’ fifth annual ”A Home for the Holidays” special (Dec. 23, 8 p.m.), which highlights the joys of adoption. Backstage, talked to Crow about why she’s a little bit country and a little bit rock & roll, why she’s open to adoption, and how long you’ll have to wait to unwrap her latest project (hint: there’s no music involved).

Christmas is just around the corner. Are you ready?
Oh, man, that just makes me want to break out in a cold sweat.

But was it Christmas spirit that inspired you to perform on ”A Home for the Holidays”?
I’ve been really lucky that I’ve been able to be around the process of my guitar player adopting. They had several opportunities where their adoptions fell through, so it was quite a struggle for them. But when they got Dylan, it was almost like there wasn’t a time before him, you know? They just became this close-knit family, and this kid is such a special character. He’s starting to look like his adoptive parents, which I think is true for a lot of adopted kids because they start picking up their parents’ mannerisms and stuff. It’s just been really inspiring to see that love is love, even if it’s not biological.

Have you always been a country music fan, or has your interest in the genre blossomed in the last several years?
A lot of the inspirations that I had were the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. And the thing is, the Rolling Stones certainly took a lot from country musicians. They were inspired by Jimmy Rogers and Johnny Cash, and they worked that twang into ”Let It Bleed” and ”Exile on Main Street.” So I kinda came into country music through the rock & roll genre of music. It’s really not been much of a stretch.

Your single with Kid Rock was embraced by country fans, but how do you feel about the responsibility of appealing to a fan base so well known for demanding loyalty?
It’s been an interesting progression watching people get turned on to my music by way of country rock. It’s been really nice that the country music community has really embraced me. I treat that with great humility and also great care, because I know that that’s a very loyal fan base, and one that I would never forsake or try to just horn in on.

You’ve been working on fiction writing in your free time. Are we ever going to see any of it?
Hopefully I’m going to put out a collection of short stories that are based on my family’s experiences. I’m going to try to finish it next year. But we’ll see.