The ways people connect, or fail to connect, became a central theme on her upcoming album, "Be Myself," to be released on Friday, April 21, which brings Crow back to her early roots as a rocker after brief stints exploring country music and soul music on her last two records. Her tour in support of the new album will bring her back to Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City this summer. (See box for details.)
"The whole album is very informed by the atmosphere, which is very chaotic, very vitriolic, a lot of fear that was really in the ether while we were making this record," she said.
Crow listened to her early records, including her debut, "Tuesday Night Music Club," and "The Globe Sessions," and teamed up with Jeffrey Trott, her longtime songwriting partner and a multi-instrumentalist. She brought in Tchad Blake, a Grammy-winning engineer who worked with her in the late '90s.
"We wanted to make a really catchy record, but one that had some edge, some grit, in the same way that some of those early recordings had," Trott said.
Crow, who has often peppered her lyrics with political references, said the album helped her after Donald Trump won the presidential election.
"I started losing faith and not only for our country, but for the people that voted for him," she said.
As she sings on her first single, "Halfway There," Crow asks for cooperation and compromise as a solution to the discord.
"You may not be an environmentalist and I might be, but at the end of the day, don't we all want the same thing for our kids?" she said. "We want a healthy future that is secure. And we have to figure out a way to communicate with reason and a modicum of decorum at least."
As a mother of two children, ages 6 and 9, she favors an unplugged life as reflected in "Roller Skate," a nostalgic, toe-tapping song about ditching the phone for a good time.
"At the end of the day, you're missing out on life experiences if you're constantly checking in with anybody that's not in the room," Crow said.