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Sheryl Crow: True to the core

Editor's note: Former "American Idol" contestant Carmen Rasmusen Herbert writes about her favorite entertainers in her column "What I Love About … " Read her weekly blog online at DeseretNews.com.

Going to a concert with your father-in-law, who also happens to be the governor, has its benefits.

Sometimes you are lucky enough to meet the performers beforehand, as we did a few months ago at the Sheryl Crow concert at Red Butte Gardens.

It was a chilly evening, and as we waited backstage to meet her (which was really just in a tent) I could sense my 2-year-old getting cold and restless. I was worried that by the time we actually got to see Crow, my son would be throwing a big fit.

Finally, we saw her security team escorting her toward us, anxiously whispering that she didn't have much time to socialize. In other words, a "hi and goodbye" was to be expected.

But I was pleasantly surprised.

Not only did she take time to shake each of our hands while my father-in-law introduced us, but she actually initiated conversation.

When she saw my son, she gasped and said, "Oh, he is adorable! I wish I would've brought my son, Wyatt, so they could have played together!"

I was so surprised to hear her say that. I think I mumbled something inaudible like "Oh, he would have loved that!"

At first I thought she was just being nice — after all, would she have really asked a complete stranger for a play date on her million dollar tour bus? But as the minutes ticked on and she was still chatting it up with us as if we were all old pals, I began to think that maybe she was just as sweet and genuine as she seemed.

As we all scrunched in to take our picture with her, she turned to me and asked if I knew the sex of my next baby, as I was about seven months pregnant at the time.

"It's another boy," I responded and grinned.

"Oh! You will love having two boys," she gushed and told me about the second son she just adopted.

"I'm so happy for you!"

In fact she was being so friendly that the cameraman who was snapping pictures had to tell us to quit talking so he could take the picture and she could go onstage!

I was thoroughly impressed with meeting Sheryl Crow. Here was someone who could have easily just made pleasantries with a "nice to meet you" and gone on stage, and we would have been none the happier.

But she went above and beyond the normal fan "meet and greet" and actually took time to show us she cared.

After she walked away, I turned to my husband and said, "She now has a fan for life."

Crow's music is both folksy and pop friendly without conforming to either. She is a stellar performer and insightful songwriter, and has a way of engaging an audience that makes you want to just let loose and sing — which about 5,000 fans did all night long.

If you're wondering which albums are some of her best to download, I would suggest going for the best: "The Very Best of Sheryl Crow" has her classic hits such as "Soak Up the Sun," "All I Wanna Do" and her cover of "The First Cut is the Deepest."

Laid back and organic, Sheryl Crow is true to the core. And that's what I love about her.