Sheryl Crow has fully committed to country music on her latest album, Feels Like Home, due Tuesday.
But Crow - who makes 51 look like 31 with her toned physique and fresh face - says it wasn't because she's disillusioned with the youth-oriented world of pop music.
"No, not at all. I think that pop music has always been geared to younger people, the country format is as well, but I think there's good music happening everywhere," says Crow, on the phone while picking up her two adopted young sons - Wyatt and Levi - from school.
("I'm sitting in the pick-up lane, it keeps it all very real.")
And while she didn't catch the polarizing MTV VMA performance of singer-in-transition Miley Cyrus, who Crow knows and likes, she certainly saw the recap.
"The MTV Awards have always been known for their outlandish antics, and touche it did not change this year. The most outrageous got the most attention and that's the way it always is."
Otherwise, Crow - who has made her home on a farm outside Nashville for the last seven years - has long had country music influences in her sound.
She even recorded a country crossover song, Picture, with Kid Rock, and tunes with Keith Urban, Vince Gill, and Brooks and Dunn.
Still, Crow was hesistant initially to record an entire country album but now says her next one will also be in the same format.
"My real concern was that people would perceive me to be trying to capitalize on something that was not necessarily authentic," she says.
"(But) I think what I'm doing now is just an extension of what I've always done. It's definitely more commited instrumentally to country music ... I'm loving writing stories just as I've always have. I'm loving having songs with range ... So I'm definitely here to stay."
In fact, it was after Crow had appeared with Miranda Lambert to sing Coal Miner's Daughter with Loretta Lynn on the 2010 CMAs when Brad Paisley pushed her to make the record. And Paisley ended up co-writing the first Feels Like Home song, Waterproof Mascara, about single motherhood.
Still, Crow says she was a little intimidated working with Paisley, a longtime close friend, and Chris Dubois on the song.
"It was a little bit like stepping on the court with Roger Federer and you're not that good, but I loved the process ... I feel like the best material I've ever written is on this record. And I feel like I'm still learning. And who can say that after 25 years of having the same job?"
In the end, she calls Waterproof Mascara her "favourite song."
"It's everything that I have grown up loving about country music," she says. "It's dramatic. It's definitely real life. We have females at the country fanbase that I don't hear the women at pop-country writing about. What it's like to be a woman today. And that's not a dig. I'm older and I'm a single mom and I'm a working mom, those are the topics that are, for me, relevant."
Crow, who has U.S. tour dates with Gary Allan but insists, "we'll definitely be making it up to Canada," says moving to Nashville, where there is no paparazzi, to raise her two young sons was the best decision she ever made.
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer, over seven years ago, and the one thing that was missing from my life was feeling like I was connected to anything," she says. "So I moved here and adopted my boys and it's just been a wonderful way to be a musician, be a working mom, have a community around me, be intact with inspiration, and really feel connected."
Subsequently, she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour but says she's in good health.
"Everything's fine there. They correlate a relationship to that sometimes with women who've had breast cancer. So while it was a showstopper for me, it seemed to be a non-worry. I feel great.'