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Over the course of a lifetime, we all encounter people who whine incessantly about their problems, in the process, expending all of the energy they might have had to change the situations that produce those problems. And then, we meet people who have genuinely suffered, and we realize that they don't seem to complain much at all, instead choosing to conduct themselves with dignity and a humble gratitude for the gift of being alive.

Sheryl Crow is one of the latter. She's battled it out in a still male-dominated music world, a task made tougher by her super model-level good looks, no doubt. She's endured many a trend without really bending her trademark blend of folk, rock and pop to fit the tastes of the moment. She's survived cancer. Amidst all of this, Crow has still managed to find time to invest herself in humanitarian causes, while simultaneously pledging her allegiance to political movements during a time when rock musicians who did so were generally ostracized.

She's a fighter, a survivor and a graceful persona. She's also a damn fine singer and songwriter.

Crow plays Artpark's Tuesday in the Park series this week, with guest Jon McLaughlin (not to be confused with guitar god John McLaughlin, you prog-heads out there!) beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 prior to Sunday, and $15 thereafter. Priority general admission "pit" tickets are $25 (box office, Tickets.com).

-- Jeff Miers