With "Threads," Sheryl Crow gets the all-star-guest treatment on what she says is her swang song, with each song featuring a favorite fellow artist. She seems a little too young for this kind of tribute. Nevertheless, this a fine collection of songs, most of which Crow had a hand in writing.
Some of these configurations work better than others. Kudos for including Public Enemy's Chuck D on "Story of Everything," even though their collaboration comes off sounding a little awkward. Double kudos, though, for the track "Don't," which pairs Crow with Lucius. Its arrangement builds like one of those great Dionne Warwick ballads from the Sixties. The acoustic guitar and harmonica-colored "Lonely Alone" brings out the best in Willie Nelson's sad singing. Inviting Jason Isbell to duet on Bob Dylan's "Everything Is Broken" was a good idea on paper, but pales in comparison to Dylan's original. "Beware of Darkness," a great George Harrison solo work, which features Eric Clapton and Brandi Carlile, also doesn't quite live up to its marquee value.
Elsewhere, partnering with Emmylou Harris, as happens on "Nobody's Perfect," is always a good move. "Still The Good Old Days" spotlights Joe Walsh's distinctive guitar and voice and sounds closer to Crow joining a Walsh project (rather than the other way around). It's still good fun, though, and the liveliest track on this extensive 17-track release.
Crow's writing talents may just be the jewel that shines brightest on "Threads." To create the sort of variety that makes all these various artists sound comfortable and at home, is quite a skill. This would have been an excellent album had Crow handled it solo. All her guest artists are like tasty frosting on an already delectable cake.