«My music has been a great resource and cathartic tool, but also something I’ve hid behind.» Revealing, intimate, and exhilaratingly raw, celebrated songwriter and acclaimed singer Sheryl Crow’s Words + Music provides the perfect canvas for the nine-time Grammy Award-winning artist to showcase her potent talent, articulate her complex inner workings, and breathe new life into a sizable stack of her most beloved tracks. Part of Audible’s rapidly expanding Words + Music series, blending storytelling, music, and performance to create exceptional listening experiences, Crow’s session is marked by gorgeously stripped-down versions of the songs that made her a household name (exclusively recorded for these sessions). The tunes punctuate rich storytelling, as she dives deep into the history of her career, re-examining the personal experiences and relationships that impacted her artistic journey. «My journey is my own,» Crow says. «I mean, it’s definitely not without some detours and definitely not without some hard lessons.» True to form, Crow leads us through her winding road to success—maybe more accurately defined as a series of jolting rollercoaster rides, as she recounts all the fits and starts, the feverish highs and lows, that have come to define a career now in its fourth decade. Featuring stunningly crisp, yet lo-fi renditions of eight songs including, «If It Makes You Happy,» «All I Wanna Do,» «Leaving Las Vegas,» «Strong Enough,» «My Favorite Mistake,» and George Harrison’s soulful «Beware of Darkness,» Sheryl Crow lays herself bare. From her early days in small-town Missouri where she sought salvation from her melancholy by turning to mystical rockers (Stevie Nicks and Zeppelin, most notably); to pursuing her dreams, and in quick fashion landing the spectacular gig as one of Michael Jackson’s featured solo vocalists on tour. (A career catapult that quickly became a cautionary tale.) From the crushing weight of perfectionism and loneliness, to the joys of finally finding kindred musical spirits—only to have it all crumble, just as the music was skyrocketing, the toll of her volatile ascent to stardom comes into focus. In a particularly fascinating section, she revisits the total sense of peer disconnect during the height of her records’ success as her style was painfully incongruent with the greater musical landscape at the time. This, subsequently leading to an «adoption» of sorts by an older, more simpatico class of musicians—luckily for her, they doubled as her heroes: Nicks, Keith Richards, and Dylan, among them. In another poignant moment, Sheryl lets listeners in on the dysfunction and emotional reckoning that came after her well-publicized romances with Eric Clapton, and a few years later, Lance Armstrong. In just an hour and a half, Sheryl Crow manages to transform before our ears: from a well-known artist to human being we now know pretty damn well. That’s not easy to accomplish. And perhaps most extraordinarily, we are left with a lasting gift: beautiful songs we entered knowing become beautiful songs we now understand.