ALBUM REVIEW | Country/Pop

Sheryl Crow, ‘Feels Like Home’

“Going country” is a tricky business. The wrong twang here or “y’all” there can make earnest attempts feel insulting. Fortunately, Sheryl Crow already had plenty of roots music in her pop-rock stew — in fact several past Crow hits could easily fit the 2013 format — so much of “Feels Like Home” indeed feels natural. When it doesn’t, it’s tough going, as on the obvious bids for radio play like formulaic first single “Easy” and “We Oughta Be Drinkin’.” Luckily, the balance of “Home” is tilted toward quality. The brutally honest acoustic confessional “Homesick” is in the grand tradition of previous Crow ballads like “The Difficult Kind.” The pensive pop country of “Homecoming Queen” perfectly straddles the contemporary country storytelling style without losing the singer-songwriter’s essence. And one of the best songs on the album, “Waterproof Mascara,” ironically out-countries current country stars by reaching back to singers such as Dolly and Loretta for story and style points. Co-written by Brad Paisley, the tune manages to sound like a current tale about single motherhood but retains a classic musical feel. (Out Tuesday)

Sarah Rodman

ESSENTIAL “Homesick”

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