Each new triumph that Sheryl Crow has notched in her career has been slightly more unlikely than the last. And while none of her albums has scored as big as her 1993 debut, Tuesday Night Music Club, Crow has beefed up her résumé over the years: recording with artists as diverse as Sting, Ryan Adams, Kid Rock, Scott Weiland, and Mick Jagger; performing the theme song to a James Bond movie; and winning truckloads of Grammys. On her seventh album, 100 Miles From Memphis, she returns to her Midwest roots for a record filled with vintage pop and R&B. Horns, backup singers, and slinky rhythms dominate the album, but Crow wisely weaves the soul thread into her own roots-rock tapestry. Take away its propulsive R&B backbeat and "Our Love Is Fading" sounds straight out of Crow's catalog. So does the reggae-touched "Eye to Eye" and the folk-country bounce of "Long Road Home." But she digs deeper on 100 Miles From Memphis — this isn't simply a Sheryl Crow album with a soulful paint job. She writes from an authentic '60s AM-radio perspective throughout, particularly in "Summer Day" (the album's first single) and the joyous "Peaceful Feeling," which bristle with Stax goodness. — Brian Baker
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