JUN 16 + 17 | 7 PM
If all you want to do is have some fun, we’ve got the show for you! “Soak Up the Sun” with Sheryl Crow, the queen of crossover country-rock. Crow returns to Wolf Trap this summer with alt-country icon Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Since the release of 2013’s Southeastern Jason Isbell has established himself as one of the most respected and celebrated songwriters of his generation. Don’t miss this dynamic double bill. Waxahatchee (singer/songwriter Katie Crutchfield) returns to Wolf Trap to open the evening.
ABOUT SHERYL CROW
Nine-time Grammy Award recipient Sheryl Crow is an American music icon. Her first nine studio albums have sold 35 million copies worldwide; seven of them charted in the Top 10 and five were certified for multi-platinum sales. In addition to No. 1 hits such as “All I Wanna Do,” “Soak Up the Sun,” and “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” Crow has lofted 40 singles into the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Top 40, Adult Contemporary, Mainstream Top 40, and Hot Country Songs charts, with more No. 1 Triple A singles than any other female artist. Sheryl Crow has been feted by a new generation of singer/songwriters who have covered her work and talked about her influence including Phoebe Bridgers, Haim, Maren Morris, and Best Coast.
On her most recent studio album Threads (2019), Crow collaborated with a broad array of her musical heroes, including Stevie Nicks, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Chuck D, Joe Walsh, Kris Kristoffersson, and the late legend Johnny Cash. Threads also featured contributions by young artists shaping music today, including Gary Clark Jr, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Andra Day, St. Vincent, and Maren Morris.
In March 2022 Sheryl, a full length documentary film about the singer/songwriter’s life and career premiered at SXSW, in partnership with Showtime Networks. An intimate story of song and sacrifice, Sheryl navigates an iconic yet arduous musical career while the artist battles sexism, ageism, depression, cancer, and the price of fame, before harnessing the power of her gift. A career spanning album package including her classic hits and several new tracks will accompany the film, released via Big Machine Label Group, in cooperation with Universal Music Group.
Crow is known as well for her passionate support of multiple charities, including The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, The World Food Program, Feeding America, ADOPT A CLASSROOM, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, MusiCares, the Delta Children’s Home, and many other worthy causes.
Biography provided by artist management.
ABOUT JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT
Jason Isbell has established himself as one of the most respected and celebrated songwriters of his generation. The North Alabama native possesses an incredible penchant for identifying and articulating some of the deepest, yet simplest, human emotions, and turning them into beautiful poetry through song. Isbell sings of the everyday human condition with thoughtful, heartfelt, and sometimes brutal honesty. Isbell broke through in 2013 with the release of Southeastern. His next two albums, Something More Than Free (2015) and The Nashville Sound (2017), won Grammy Awards for Best Americana Album & Best American Roots Song. Isbell’s song “Maybe It’s Time” was featured in the 2019 reboot of A Star Is Born.
His most recent full-length album, Reunions (2020), is a critically-acclaimed collection of ten new songs that showcases an artist at the height of his powers and a band fully charged with creativity and confidence. In April of 2021, it was announced that Isbell would appear in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film, Killers of the Flower Moon.
In October 2021, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit released a special new covers album, Georgia Blue. Created to celebrate Georgia’s role in the 2020 election, the record consists of new versions of thirteen songs with ties to the state, including tracks originally recorded by Georgia natives R.E.M., Drivn’ N’ Cryin’, James Brown, Cat Power, Precious Bryant, Otis Redding, The Black Crowes, Indigo Girls, Now It’s Overhead, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Allman Brothers Band, and Vic Chesnutt. All proceeds benefit three non-profit organizations: Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight, and Georgia STAND-UP.
Biography provided by artist management.
What do we hold on to from our past? What must we let go of to truly move forward?
Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, a lyricist who has always let her listeners know exactly where she is at a given moment, spent much of 2018 reckoning with these questions and revisiting her roots to look for answers. The result is Saint Cloud (2020), an intimate journey through the places she’s been, filled with the people she’s loved.
Written immediately in the period following her decision to get sober, the album is an unflinching self-examination. From a moment of reckoning in Barcelona to a tourist trap in Tennessee to a painful confrontation on Arkadelphia Road, from a nostalgic jaunt down 7th Street in New York City to the Mississippi Gulf, Crutchfield creates a sense of place for her soul-baring tales, a longtime staple of her storytelling.
This raw, exposed narrative terrain is aided by a shift in sonic arrangements as well. While her last two records featured the kind of big guitars, well-honed noise, and battering sounds that characterized her Philadelphia scene and strongly influenced a burgeoning new class of singer/songwriters, Saint Cloud strips back those layers to create space for Crutchfield’s voice and lyrics. The result is a classic Americana sound with modern touches befitting an artist who has emerged as one of the signature storytellers of her time.
From the origins of her band name—the beloved creek behind her childhood home—to scene-setting classics like “Noccalula” and “Sparks Fly,” listening to Waxahatchee has always felt like being invited along on a journey with a steely-eyed navigator. On Saint Cloud, Crutchfield adds a new sense of perspective to her travels. Reflecting on this, she says, “I think all of my records are turbulent and emotional, but this one feels like it has a little dose of enlightenment. It feels a little more calm and less reckless.”
Many of the narratives on Saint Cloud concern addiction and the havoc it wreaks on ourselves and our loved ones, as Crutchfield comes to a deeper understanding of love not only for those around her but for herself. This coalesces most clearly on “Fire,” which she says was literally written in transit, during a drive over the Mississippi River into West Memphis, and serves as a love song to herself, a paean to moving past shame into a place of unconditional self-acceptance. Coming from a songwriter long accustomed to looking in other directions for love, it’s a stirring moment when Crutchfield sings, “I take it for granted/If I could love you unconditionally/I could iron out the edges of the darkest sky.”
Which is not to say that Saint Cloud lacks Crutchfield’s signature poetry on matters of romantic love. Still, her personal evolution in this area is evident too, as this time around, Crutchfield examines what it really means to be with someone and how it feels to see our own patterns more clearly. On “Hell,” she sings: “I hover above like a deity/But you don’t worship me, you don’t worship me/You strip the illusion, you did it well/I’ll put you through hell.”
Crutchfield also looks at what it’s like to be romantically involved with another artist, someone in search of their own truth, on “The Eye.” “Our feet don’t ever touch the ground/Run ourselves ragged town to town/Chasing uncertainty around, a siren sound” and “We leave love behind without a tear or a long goodbye/as we wait for lightning to strike/We are enthralled by the calling of the eye.”
And of course, even when Crutchfield is taking a more nuanced approach to love, her ease with all-encompassing sentiments is still clear, with lines like “I give it to you all on a dime/I love you till the day I die” which sound culled from a classic torch song.
Over the course of Saint Cloud’s 11 songs, which were recorded in the summer of 2019 at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX, and Long Pond in Stuyvesant, NY, and produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Big Red Machine), Crutchfield peels back the distortion of electric guitars to create a wider sonic palette than on any previous Waxahatchee album. It is a record filled with nods to classic country (like the honky tonk ease of “Can’t Do Much”), folk-inspired tones (heard in the confessional lilt of “St. Cloud”), and distinctly modern touches (like the pulsating minimalism of “Fire”).
To bolster her vision, Crutchfield enlisted Bobby Colombo and Bill Lennox, both of the Detroit-based band Bonny Doon, to serve as her backing band on the record, along with Josh Kaufman (Hiss Golden Messenger, Bonny Light Horseman) on guitar and keyboards and Nick Kinsey (Kevin Morby, Elvis Perkins) on drums and percussion. Bonny Doon will also perform as Crutchfield’s live band during her extensive tours planned for 2020, which include the US and Europe.
Saint Cloud marks the beginning of a journey for Crutchfield, one that sees her leaving behind past vices and the comfortable environs of her Philadelphia scene to head south in search of something new. If on her previous work Crutchfield was out in the storm, she’s now firmly in the eye of it, taking stock of her past with a clear perspective and gathering the strength to carry onward.
Biography provided by artist management.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
AUG 4: LITTLE BIG TOWN | KARLEY SCOTT COLLINS
AUG 12: GREENSKY BLUEGRASS | THE WOOD BROTHERS
AUG 27: MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER | EMMYLOU HARRIS
SPECIAL THANKS TO
Dan and Gayle D’Aniello,
Wolf Trap 2022 Season Underwriters