Since breaking on to the pop-rock music scene in 1993 with her debut album Tuesday Night Music Club, Sheryl Crow has released ten studio albums, sold over 50 million records worldwide and received nine Grammy Awards from a massive 32 nominations. Best known for her powerful country-rock voice and feel-good hits All I Wanna Do (1994), If It Makes You Happy (1996), Everyday Is a Winding Road (1996), and the 1997 James Bond theme Tomorrow Never Dies, Crow is also a talented musician and incisive lyricist. A classically trained pianist, Crow taught herself guitar, bass guitar and accordion, gaining the admiration of an impressive roster of bonafide rock heroes early on in her career, invited to perform with legends including Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Johnny Cash, Prince, Eric Clapton and Stevie Nicks. In a 2019 interview with Vanity Fair, she recalled being in New Orleans to record her second album in the mid-’90s, and going to meet Dylan at one of his shows: I walked backstage and he’s like, ‘Hey, did you bring your accordion?’ And I said no, and we sent a taxi back to get my accordion. Based in Nashville, she has garnered five Academy of Country Music nominations with a win for Best Vocal Event, Crow released her first pure country record Feels Like Home in 2013, which earned her a sixth ACM nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year. Despite announcing her final album release Threads in 2019, Crow intends to continue making music from her Nashville home studio.
Unlike Crow, her trusty Baldoni accordion will be going into retirement after almost two decades of service with the star. During a 1997 television appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, which saw Crow treat the audience to a performance of Van Halen’s Jump on the Baldoni, she quipped It’s important during a rock show to be able to pull out an accordion, when all else fails… Should my rock and roll career bomb, I can always go back and do bar mitzvahs and polkas and weddings. Crow’s Baldoni Combo Accordion first came into public view in early 1996, enlisted for her performance at the Dolls Have a Heart amfAR benefit on 14th February 1996 at the Roseland Ballroom in New York. From 1996 through 1999 the instrument became her primary performance and recording accordion, seen on stage for a rendition of The Band’s Evangeline with Levon Helm and Emmylou Harris in 1996 and again with Helm at the Roseland Ballroom in February 1997. Crow accompanied herself on the Baldoni accordion for a performance of her acoustic folk-pop hit Strong Enough at the 1997 Lilith Fair at Pennsylvania’s Coca-Cola Star Lake Amphitheatre. In homage to both the accordion and The Who, Crow performed Squeeze Box with the Baldoni on British television show TFI Friday in December 1997. Sheryl turned to the squeeze box once again for performances with Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Marty Stuart in tribute to Johnny Cash at the Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City, on 6th April 1999, and at Sony Music Studios, New York, for an appearance with the Dixie Chicks on 21st November 1999.
After extensive touring through 1999 in support of Crow’s third studio album The Globe Sessions, the instrument was returned to the Baldoni company to undergo a major restoration, reappearing at a second Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute concert on 10th November 2003 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, where Crow accompanied Jimmy Tittle in a performance of I’ll See You Again. Taking to the road with An Inconvenient Truth producer Laurie David in Spring 2007 to spread the eco-friendly message to students on their Stop Global Warming College Tour, Sheryl can be seen playing the Baldoni during shows at Texas A University and Washington University. Crow continued to periodically pull out the accordion for various benefit performances over the ensuing decade, including the MusiCares Person Of The Year Tribute To Neil Young at the Los Angeles Convention Center on 10th January 2010, the Bama Rising Benefit Concert For Alabama Tornado Recovery at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex on 14th June 2011, the Come Together Celebration concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on 12th August 2012 in Clarkston, Michigan, and the 40th anniversary celebration benefit concert of the Austin City Limits Festival on 26th June 2014. The Baldoni accordion was last seen when Crow performed Wide River to Cross with CNN Hero Arthur Bloom and his MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band for CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute at the NY Museum of Natural History on 7th December 2014. Owing to the harsh wear instruments are subjected to while touring, Crow decided to permanently retire her favorite accordion in 2015.
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