EveryDay Angels Forum - A Jewel Message Board

Author Topic: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album  (Read 39261 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Randy

  • EDA
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 419
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #200 on: September 11, 2015, 09:23:11 PM »
*Whew!*

That was a lot of reading. Just caught up. Those Dolly stories were great, and I've got a feeling it's not the last time we'll hear them.  ::2

As I read those pieces, I was struck with the notion that Jewel might be an actual genius. The inclusion of Dolly and Crowell and Moore and Davidson in the album is just enough to get the interest of country publications, but this isn't a country record. Also, I think she effectively torpedoed one of the arguments people have had against her, namely, genre-shifting. She's moving through the media like a little blonde ninja.

Randy

  • EDA
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 419
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #201 on: September 11, 2015, 11:47:44 PM »
I hate the click bait headline on this story with a passion, so in protest, I'm not going to link to the source. One page view is enough and you've all likely already seen the story.
I'm up way too late.

I'm not gonna post any of the "news" sites that picked up on the "putting dimes in my hand at 8" angle but lordy, there are a lot of them. Of course, this would be the very thing that gathers steam...sheesh.

Anyway, she told Stern this story over two FIVE years ago and no one noticed!


EDIT: It was the 2010 interview!

Sandy

  • EDA
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 360
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #202 on: September 12, 2015, 08:15:11 AM »
Seems like she's getting a lot of great press for this. :)

Absolutely!  I'm miffed about the exclusion on Spotify's new release section because there are some views to be had there, but there's been some otherwise great press all over!  She was even on the Google News front page, albeit briefly, and only for the terrible clickbait headline referenced above, but w/e - there's no such thing as bad press, right?

My friend was over last nite and he pulled PUTP right up on Spotify. Then we  :smoke: and  :sandy: and  :cry: and  :yawn:

Randy

  • EDA
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 419
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #203 on: September 12, 2015, 08:47:41 AM »
Update from the friendly neighborhood mailman...
Quote
Product & Tracking Information
Postal Product:
First-Class Package Service
Features:
USPS Tracking™
DATE & TIME
STATUS OF ITEM
LOCATION
September 12, 2015 , 8:35 am
Out for Delivery
DOVER, DE 19904
Your item is out for delivery on September 12, 2015 at 8:35 am in DOVER, DE 19904.

My CD is out and about through the countryside! And when I say countryside, I'm not kidding. I live in the suburbs of Amish Gotham.

Maybe I should get an extension cord and drag this computer out to the mailbox for live updates: "Here comes the mailman! Oh, no, wait...that's a cow."



EDIT: Pretty sure this is the final update on this one...








Mr. Joe

  • EDA
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 312
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #204 on: September 12, 2015, 10:08:58 AM »
Jewel ‏@jeweljk  · 1h1 hour ago 
Shooting a video today for My Fathers Daughter- doing a sun dance to keep the rain away  :jewelsmilie: :blueguitar:


Not sure where to put this but: sounds good  :woohoo:

Jewel is doing Music Videos for songs in Picking Up the Pieces.  :hi5:
 
 



 




 
"Mr. Joe, of the Philadelphia Joes"

Donna Sue

  • EDA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 802
The red light cannot change the mood of the blue guitar that's played

Jessica

  • EDA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3,186
  • Dancin the night away
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #206 on: September 14, 2015, 09:05:43 AM »
Jewel ‘Picking Up The Pieces’ – Album Review

I think it’s fair to say Jewel has been through a lot in the past few years. Her last album of original studio material was in 2010 with ‘Sweet and Wild’, and since that time she’s released a holiday album and two children’s offerings, but nothing that chronicles the birth of her son, the breakdown of her marriage and the life shifts that occurred in between. This is all changed with today’s release of ‘Picking Up The Pieces’, a bookend of sorts to her celebrated debut ‘Pieces of You’, which put her on the map with her raw, honest songwriting and folksy approach. Featuring fourteen tracks, some of which are old live favorites that extend back through the 90s, and some of which that are brand new for this record, it’s a cohesive collection of critical, razor-sharp reflections on life, family, conflict, love, pain, regret, doubt and ultimately peace, even if that peace is somewhat cracking in places.

Many of the heavy emotions on this record can easily be attributed to Jewel’s comparatively recent divorce, although it is the poetic license of the songwriter to put out material that fools us in its inspiration. It is reductive to assume that every song here holds reference to her break-up, particularly due to the age of the some of the offerings, but equally it is hard to ignore the freshness of the pain, the strike of the match as she sends herself up in flames. It can be difficult to listen to at times; ‘His Pleasure Is My Pain’ is an especially emotive piece, supported by sitar and cello and alternating between impassioned, broken singing and almost vicious spoken word. Jewel takes the concept of blunt honesty to a new level here, making sure we feel every word with every ounce of meaning and emotion she has experienced, striking us at our most vulnerable and painting a clear picture of her truth. “I wonder if he’s only half alive or if he’s always lacked such subtlety,” she says, the words rolling around her tongue with a kind of twisted delight, interspersed with the more desperate cries of “Yes it’s true I’m too sensitive but he takes pleasure in my pain.”

In case it wasn’t already blindingly clear, this is not a record for the faint of heart. We find her stripped away and open at her most broken, her most devastated, her most angry and bitter. The powerful opener ‘Love Used To Be’ reflects on all the different aspects of her life love used to fulfil, and how it has impacted those now it is gone. “Dig a six foot hole inside my chest,” she begs, before building to a half-sung yell as the heartbreak becomes too much. Equally ‘The Shape of You’ finds Jewel lost, missing someone so painfully and deeply that it becomes all she can hold onto, while ‘Carnivore’ (an old song, repurposed with new relevancy) lashes out with fire-spitting anger, “Never trust your pink fleshy heart to a carnivore.” Instead of writing songs in hindsight of a great heartbreak, finding some kind of lesser representation of pain to convey in a way that is a more palatable to a mass audience, Jewel closes her eyes and just speaks her emotions, redefining what it is to be raw in this industry.

The closing track ‘Mercy’ has this same concept in mind, “Simplicity does not come easy when you’re dreaming of being someone else,” she advises, and this willingness to let go of the veneers and the walls she has built up over the course of a career is what informs this record the most. It is so easy to think we are being raw and truthful when in actual fact it’s just a less guarded version of ourselves – ‘Picking Up The Pieces’ looks to discard that in favor of simplicity and honesty in their essences. Just a record about stories and feelings and experiences. ‘A Boy Needs A Bike’, another old song that many fans will be familiar with, sees Jewel taking on the perspective of a little boy whose parents’ marriage is complicated. He doesn’t understand why his father doesn’t just take him and his sister and drive away from the conflict, though his father assures him it’s not as simple as that. Through the innocence of a child, we see two people who shouldn’t be together and how their imperfect relationship impacts their children, but we also see that we can get caught up in the rules and social practises of the world that prevent us from doing what we should.

The same message crawls through the curiously rhythmic take-down ‘Plain Jane’, which lambasts a person for trying too hard to be interesting and socially dominant, instead advising that she prefers this person as a plain jane. But Jewel experiences her own communication breakdown on ‘It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now’, a wonderful duet with Rodney Crowell, not afraid to showcase the ugly side of relationship conflict.

There are a couple of songs regarding family on this record, and Jewel looks to take the lessons she’s learned into motherhood on ‘Family Tree’, a reflection on the mistakes and twisted legacy of her ancestors and those already made between her and her ex-husband. The other duet on this album, ‘My Father’s Daughter’, finds Dolly Parton joining the songstress in a perfectly-suited country folk track that takes a kinder approach to the influence of family.

‘Picking Up The Pieces’ is at times a hard listen and pushes us to the edge of our emotional boundaries. But there is resolution and comfort in there – not falsified, but reminding us the pain won’t always hurt this much, even though right now we’re screaming and crying and bleeding inside. It’s a time capsule, like ‘Pieces of You’ was, that reflects an emotional journey for Jewel, and I’m glad she took us along for the ride. Life is ugly, but it’s a little less so if we all stop pretending to be doing better than we are.

Angel Eyes

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 332
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #207 on: September 14, 2015, 02:24:54 PM »
The album is up on YouTube now. Yes, it's free and legal. ;) Can everyone outside the US listen?

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNAgy7iyMbZ46OrD9qhmlhlWjFaFwylTc

Javo

  • EDA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 606
  • Dutch Jewel fan
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #208 on: September 14, 2015, 02:27:20 PM »
Over here I can't, luckily the digital album has been downloaded already!
No longer lend your strenght to that which you wish to be free from.

Jessica

  • EDA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3,186
  • Dancin the night away
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #209 on: September 16, 2015, 01:42:23 PM »
Jewel’s music comes full circle
Ara Jansen

When Jewel says she hopes her latest album is like sticking a line into her arm and one into yours for a direct exchange of emotions, she isn’t kidding.

Picking Up the Pieces is the Alaskan singer-songwriter at her most raw, grabbing you by the heartstrings and tugging hard.

“I wanted it to be visceral,” Jewel says from her home in Nashville. “I wanted you to feel what I feel. I wanted you to have an uninhibited experience of who I am as a poet and a songwriter.”

The 41-year-old folk singer who shot to fame in 1995 with her debut album Pieces of You, feels she has completed a circle with Picking Up the Pieces.

“I always knew I was going to make another folk album,” she says. “I just had to wait for the right time.”

And the right time for her eleventh album was now. Known for the compassionate, sometimes uncomfortable, transparency about her life and emotions, one of the drivers behind this album was her divorce last year from professional rodeo rider Ty Murray after 16 years together.

Part of their divorce statement said that “growth became tragically stifled as a couple and we believe we can find it again in setting each other free”.

“It’s something I needed for myself,” Jewel says about making Picking Up the Pieces. “It was really an exercise in shutting out fear. I was giving myself permission to be who and what I was. It was scary. I was going through a divorce and trying to awaken parts of myself and music became a metaphor for that.”

Jewel is one of those rare artists who has always followed her own intuition when it comes to making decisions and music.

Picking Up the Pieces — which includes songs written with Rodney Crowell and a duet with Dolly Parton — was made independently. She was determined to unlearn all the record company rules about making sure the album had a hit single or keeping songs within radio-friendly time limits.

“I have always laid things bare,” Jewel says. “These are emotional songs and are pretty out there. People have been having very strong reactions to them which is good because it means there’s a potency in them.”

Picking Up the Pieces is out now.

Garf

  • Global Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 219
  • Yeah, boobs are good.
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #210 on: September 16, 2015, 03:55:01 PM »
I have really gotten a chance to give this album quite a few good, proper listens this week and :wub:, just :wub:

I missed this so much. :wub:

I mean it's not perfect, but :wub:

Marie (My 6 year old daughter for those who don't know me yet) has started singing along in the back seat of the car now.

"Too damn coooool to take a chance on love"

Plain Jane - "Loooooovvee"

She's saying damn but its freaking adorable!

Sigh... :wub:

Jessica

  • EDA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3,186
  • Dancin the night away
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #211 on: September 21, 2015, 09:00:48 AM »
Post-Divorce, Jewel Picks Up the Pieces With New Album, Book
The singer-songwriter directs Dolly Parton on a duet on her new album, 'Picking Up the Pieces.'

For all the successes Jewel has enjoyed in her professional life, it’s a seemingly rich inner life that drives the singer-songwriter and has been the source of both her greatest pain and her biggest victories. Much of that life is explored both on her latest album, Picking Up the Pieces (her first for new label home Sugar Hill), and in her memoir, Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story, due Sept. 15.

The album, which dropped Sept. 11, is her first set of new material since her second Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) country project, Sweet and Wild, in 2010. In the interim, she gave birth to son Kase, now 4; released a pair of 
children’s albums and a holiday set; and amicably divorced rodeo star husband Ty Murray after six years of marriage and 16 as a couple. While some of the songs on Picking Up the Pieces pre-date the divorce, the pain of the split finds its way into others. With the new set, Jewel aimed to return to the folky sound that put her on the map two decades ago with her multiplatinum 1995 debut release, Pieces of You. The current project was recorded in Nashville, where Jewel, 41, has lived with Kase for two-and-a-half years. Billboard sat down with Jewel to chat about music, motivation and more esoteric things.

In the album’s liner notes, you thank Nashville producer Paul Worley for “kicking me in the butt by backing out and making me produce this CD.” What happened there?

[Paul] came in a week before pre-production and said, “I’m not going to do the record,” and I was pissed. He said, “You’re going to thank me … You need to be doing this.” I just thought he took another gig and was bailing on me, and I was pretty upset about it.

I’ve produced some of my own records myself, but they weren’t this type of work. I’m comfortable in the studio, but I always felt I had more to learn from other people than what I knew on my own. That has helped me a lot as an artist, but at the same time it can also hold you back. Paul felt the same thing. He felt no one should put a filter on me, that I had the vision for what I wanted. It really was the kick in the pants I probably needed.

Was producing yourself a good experience?

It was. I knew I didn’t want to have a label when I started recording and would shop it at the end. I wanted no influences. Whenever you have anybody around, no matter how transparent of a producer they are, it is a filter that you become interpreted through. My job is to serve emotion, and if emotion gets diluted, I didn’t do my job. I wanted this record to feel like there was something from my vein to your vein.

During your time on BMLG, was country music a comfortable fit for you?

I loved it. It’s funny, when I [first] got signed — when I was living in a car — I didn’t know a thing about the business. So I went to my label and said, “Can we get ‘You Were Meant for Me’ played on country radio?” It’s a country song. It’s a shuffle. I’m shocked it got played on pop radio. I thought it should be a natural fit for country, but Atlantic Records in New York didn’t have a relationship with country radio. It’s then that I learned there’s these completely separate systems.

When I first came out, country radio was Shania Twain and Faith Hill. It was a lot more pop than what I was. [But] as a singer-songwriter, I knew I had to get into the country business, because it was the only place I could tell stories. [So] it was an awesome experience for me. It’s felt like a great home. For the first time in my life I was asked, “Why did you write this lyric?” [by country] radio. [At pop radio], I was just asked, “What’s your favorite nail color?” I’m like, “Really? Did you ask Beck that?”

Will anything be worked to radio from this project?


I went into the studio thinking, “I’m not going to think about radio. I’m not going to think about genre. I’m not going to think about tempo.” To get that out of my head and make a record pure and independent from all the stuff you learn over 20 years was really difficult. “My Father’s Daughter” is being taken to Americana. Country has changed a lot. Right now where it’s at, I can’t really see any of my stuff getting on there.

How did your collaboration with Dolly Parton on “My Father’s Daughter” come to be?

As a kid growing up with an outhouse, my heroes were always Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. They were the only other icons I’d heard of that were raised similarly to me. I liked that they had the courage to say, “This is exactly who and what the hell I am.” So I got the courage to ask her to sing on the record, and she agreed. I never thought I’d be producing Dolly Parton on a record. That was weird.

Does she take direction well?

She’s such a pro and everything you would hope she would be: Shows up 15 minutes early, has her notes, knows her parts, and she’s just like, “Honey, don’t you be nervous about bossing me around. You get what you need out of me while you got me. You don’t know how much longer I’m going to be around.” Sweeter than hell.

How was collaborating with Rodney Crowell on “It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now”?

We wrote a couple of songs together and just had a real poet’s affinity for each other. He’s a real craftsman. It’s not often you’re around people in the business that care so much about the craft. A lot of people just want to be famous.

What can your fans can expect from the book?

People often ask me, “How did you go from being raised in the sticks, to being abused, to moving out at 15, to being homeless at 18?” I did it really consciously. Imperfectly, but I knew at 15 girls like me end up in the ditch, pregnant or in an abusive relationship. I wanted to beat those odds. If I was to look at nature vs. nurture, how would I ever know my nature by how I was nurtured? And if you become what you’re raised around, what did that say about my future and my hopes? Could I re-nurture myself? I started asking myself those questions at 15, writing them down in my journal. I’d read a bunch of philosophy. It set me on a path, and writing for me just became my medicine and my way of tracking my progress. It accidentally became a career, but it’s never what I considered my greatest success. My greatest success is that I kept standing up and I never let my life make me bitter ...

My life has been an open story in a lot of ways, but there’s a lot of things I went through that I never shared, and the worst things I suffered were at the height of my career. I kept my mouth shut and got about rebuilding and never talked about it. So this is really the first time I talk about what those setbacks were … [including] being millions of dollars in debt by the time I was 33.

At the back of the book I list 20 takeaways that helped me overcome agoraphobia and all kinds of things. I’m now building a website based on those 20 things. I created these exercises for myself to help retrain my brain, change my way of thinking and challenge my beliefs. They changed my life. I really believe if you have tenacity and a willingness to say, “I am accountable. I am not a victim,” then you can create tremendous change in your life.

Randy

  • EDA
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 419
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #212 on: September 22, 2015, 11:10:31 AM »
I'm a Jewel Homer of course, but you gotta take the good with the bad. I really don't disagree with the occasional "oversinging" critique.


Jewel returns to 'Pieces' but falls short of debut

Brian Passey, bpassey@thespectrum.com 11:14 p.m. MDT September 21, 2015

It’s been two decades since Jewel’s first album, “Pieces of You,” and her new record was intended as a bookend for that debut release. Unfortunately, “Picking Up the Pieces” is no “Pieces of You.”

Sure, stylistically it’s much closer to “Pieces of You” than her past half-dozen or so releases, which included a couple of children’s albums and two country records. And this self-produced record does have her signature personal lyrics. It’s just not nearly as good as “Pieces of You.”

Take the first track, “Love Used To Be.” It has the sound but it’s just not all that memorable. Her voice is still strong and retains those intrinsic qualities that made it so unique when we first heard it in 1995, but she takes things a little too far and over-sings at the end of the track.

In fact, that over-singing problem is a recurring one throughout “Picking Up the Pieces.” Just when you think a song is going well, she overdoes it. We get it, Jewel. You can still sing now that you’re in your 40s, but you don’t have to prove it on every track. A little subtlety can go a long way.

A pretty piano melody helps to save “Everything Breaks” from its cliched storm lyrics while “Carnivore” easily avoids those relationship cliches with slightly disturbing but creative lines: “Never trust your pink, fleshy heart / To a carnivore.” Yet “Carnivore” is among the many tracks weakened by a lack of restraint in her vocals.

While occasional cliches sneak in, Jewel’s lyrics are otherwise fairly strong. Ever the poet, not only does she include three original poems in the album’s liner notes, she also writes some of the songs like poems. Among them is “His Pleasure Is My Pain” with an intriguing sitar melody throughout.

She finds success in the simplicity of “Family Tree,” the bittersweetness of “The Shape Of You” and the quirkiness of “Plain Jane,” though the latter feels out of place on this particular album. “Here When Gone” boast a great chorus melody and intriguing lyrics: “”I am a woman haunted by hands / Even though I’m alone / Traces of palm across my skin / An invisible map of where you’ve been.”

The country sounds of 2008’s “Perfectly Clear” and 2010’s “Sweet and Wild” come through from time to time. Those albums were both underrated gems so their influence is welcome here. Jewel even invites a couple of country singers by for a duo of duets.

The first is “It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now” with Rodney Crowell, who co-wrote the song. It boasts a pretty, mysterious melody but Crowell sounds like he’s calling it in. There’s just no emotion to his singing. Jewel fares better until she over-emotes again toward the end of the song.

Much better is “My Father’s Daughter” featuring Dolly Parton. Their voices meld well for a track that seems to have it all: a pretty melody, a catchy chorus and heartfelt, storytelling lyrics about Jewel’s Alaskan childhood: “I am the accumulation of the dreams of generations / And their stories live in me like holy water / I am my father’s daughter.”

It’s just too bad more of “Picking Up the Pieces” isn’t like “My Father’s Daughter.” Jewel still has plenty of songwriting and singing talent but perhaps next time she should hire a producer to rein her in a bit.

“Picking Up the Pieces” by Jewel

2.5 stars

Jessica

  • EDA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3,186
  • Dancin the night away
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #213 on: September 22, 2015, 11:32:08 AM »
Okay, so that person is a pop country fan. 

And the phrase is "phoning it in," not "calling it in." :rolleyes:

But, yeah, I put that in my review, too: that end bit everyone else but me likes in Love Used to Be kinda torches the song a little.

Donna Sue

  • EDA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 802
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #214 on: September 22, 2015, 11:55:34 AM »
I'm a Jewel Homer of course, but you gotta take the good with the bad. I really don't disagree with the occasional "oversinging" critique.

I agree Randy... she could rein it in just a little in some of the songs. But she's admitted she can be a little bit dramatic.  :w

I give this album a lot better than 2.5 stars tho.
The red light cannot change the mood of the blue guitar that's played

Randy

  • EDA
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 419
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #215 on: September 22, 2015, 12:40:40 PM »
...now juxtapose that review with this one. Pretty sure this guy had a boner while writing this.

Album Review: @Jeweljk – Picking Up The Pieces

Monday, September 21st, 2015 by Chuck Dauphin

One thing is for sure. When Jewel sings, you listen. There’s something about her vocal approach that evokes comparisons to absolutely no one. She has a style all her own, and it shows in each track on this album. Truth be told, there will no doubt be quite a bit of curiosity about this album as it is her first since her recent divorce from Ty Murray. With that said, many of the tracks on this album are heartbreak-laden. But, the singer actually wrote some of these cuts years ago – so unless you know the chronology of the origin of the tracks, you might be surprised to know who is (or is not) the inspiration for the music.

Regardless of the answer to that obvious question, anyone who has ever endured the pain of a divorce or a breakup will identify with the heartfelt lyrics here. “Love Used To Be” details the emotional emptiness of looking around and seeing just how much life has changed in the blink of an eye or the beat of a heart. That could also be said for the melancholy of “Everything Breaks.” There’s a sense of sadness on the track for sure, but also a kind of a numbness that really hit home with me.

But, Picking Up The Pieces isn’t totally about the breakup of a romantic relationship. “Family Tree” gives her a chance to examine the legacy that she inherited from her parents at the beginning of the song – and then moves on to a former lover. The song itself is nothing short of an introspective masterpiece, which she handles with a great deal of emotional depth.

The disc features a couple of special guests – Dolly Parton on “My Father’s Daughter” and Rodney Crowell on the somber “It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now,” which literally bleeds through the speakers. Never one to hold back her emotions, Jewel – as well as Crowell knock this one out of the ballpark with the skill of an Oliver in a Shakespearean play.

In my opinion, the cream of the crop of the album is the utterly brilliant “Carnivore.” The song walks the line from sadness to downright anger to ultimate regret – along with perhaps the best vocal performance she has given in years. If you don’t feel this one, you need to go to the heart doctor – to make sure you have one.

At the end of the day, Picking Up The Pieces is not the album you want to take with you when you’re wanting to roll down the window and crank it up down a country highway. Rather, it’s the type of album that will make you think….and drink, and maybe in that order. In a sense, it’s not a project she could have made in 1995 or 2005, as you have to live it to truly sing about – and that she does…possibly better than ever.

Randy

  • EDA
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 419
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #216 on: September 22, 2015, 01:07:19 PM »
Huh. I haven't been looking for album reviews recently because I figured they'd all be done just before and after the release date. But, here's another one posted yesterday.

Album Review: Jewel, Picking Up The Pieces

In 1995 Jewel released her debut album, Pieces of You. Twenty years and ten albums later, she has finally released what feels like the spiritual followup.

From folk beginnings, a pop-star rebirth, reemerging as as fledgling country artist and even releasing music for children, much of Jewel's career has felt like a search to define itself. Pigeonholing never quite worked and by doing away with a genre hanging over her head, Jewel is able to focus on what she does best; music and poetry. In a twisted way, it's her best country music album by far.

She farewells the previous state of everything on Love Used to Be. It's a bold statement to start the album; that when love is gone the world can feel without purpose and beauty. "Love used to be my compass but now I'm alone and I'm adrift and I'm lost at sea" she laments from a place of genuine pain. Her voice bellows, moans and contorts on many songs as if it's trying to make sense of it all. At times this is powerful but can also become overblown and distracts from her sharp songwriting.

In its best moments, the writing on Picking Up The Pieces is unrestrained and unapologetic (meaning her voice doesn't always have to be); her dealings with personal heartbreak map out the album's journey and show the past twenty years haven't always been too kind.  It Doesn't Hurt Right Now is a flooring moment and features the grounded vocals of Rodney Crowell. It's lyrics are sharp and haunting, particularly the mysterious line "could you ever see, just you and me alone in this room, or does he make it three?"

A Boy Needs A Bike has been a live number for years and remains a highlight; tracing the complicated relationship between children, parents, the loss of innocence and the distractions that guard us from reality. No one gets out easy and it's a punch-in-the-gut moment when her voice crescendos into a plea for her father to put the children in the backseat and drive away, for a child believes this would solve everything.

She grapples with the word 'sorry' on Everything Breaks and the very personal hole left behind on The Shape of You. Dolly Parton appears on My Father's Daughter, a fine pairing of the two voices and a rare moment of sweetness but one that feels at odds with the rest of the album. She stills finds time to ridicule American culture on the snappy Plain Jane.

Picking Up The Pieces is defined by it's harsh realities and though there's little optimism to be found it is a compelling study into love and heartbreak.

Rating: 7/10
Essential: Love Use to Be, A Boy Needs A Bike, It Doesn't Hurt Right Now

Angel Eyes

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 332
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #217 on: September 22, 2015, 06:16:09 PM »
But, yeah, I put that in my review, too: that end bit everyone else but me likes in Love Used to Be kinda torches the song a little.

Yeah, I actually agree. The first few times I heard it it kinda made me cringe, but I'm pretty much used to it by now. I can definitely understand the emotion in the song, though, obviously.

Jessica

  • EDA
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3,186
  • Dancin the night away
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #218 on: September 23, 2015, 10:36:02 AM »
Album Review: Jewel – Picking Up The Pieces

One thing is for sure. When Jewel sings, you listen. There’s something about her vocal approach that evokes comparisons to absolutely no one. She has a style all her own, and it shows in each track on this album. Truth be told, there will no doubt be quite a bit of curiosity about this album as it is her first since her recent divorce from Ty Murray. With that said, many of the tracks on this album are heartbreak-laden. But, the singer actually wrote some of these cuts years ago – so unless you know the chronology of the origin of the tracks, you might be surprised to know who is (or is not) the inspiration for the music.

Regardless of the answer to that obvious question, anyone who has ever endured the pain of a divorce or a breakup will identify with the heartfelt lyrics here. “Love Used To Be” details the emotional emptiness of looking around and seeing just how much life has changed in the blink of an eye or the beat of a heart. That could also be said for the melancholy of “Everything Breaks.” There’s a sense of sadness on the track for sure, but also a kind of a numbness that really hit home with me.

But, Picking Up The Pieces isn’t totally about the breakup of a romantic relationship. “Family Tree” gives her a chance to examine the legacy that she inherited from her parents at the beginning of the song – and then moves on to a former lover. The song itself is nothing short of an introspective masterpiece, which she handles with a great deal of emotional depth.

The disc features a couple of special guests – Dolly Parton on “My Father’s Daughter” and Rodney Crowell on the somber “It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now,” which literally bleeds through the speakers. Never one to hold back her emotions, Jewel – as well as Crowell knock this one out of the ballpark with the skill of an Oliver in a Shakespearean play.

In my opinion, the cream of the crop of the album is the utterly brilliant “Carnivore.” The song walks the line from sadness to downright anger to ultimate regret – along with perhaps the best vocal performance she has given in years. If you don’t feel this one, you need to go to the heart doctor – to make sure you have one.

At the end of the day, Picking Up The Pieces is not the album you want to take with you when you’re wanting to roll down the window and crank it up down a country highway. Rather, it’s the type of album that will make you think ... and drink, and maybe in that order. In a sense, it’s not a project she could have made in 1995 or 2005, as you have to live it to truly sing about – and that she does…possibly better than ever.

Randy

  • EDA
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 419
Re: Jewel Returns to Folk Roots on 'Picking Up the Pieces' Album
« Reply #219 on: September 28, 2015, 06:34:00 PM »
Another album review. This guy is obviously a fan; he included stuff that your average writer would not know. Here's the rating:

:wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :indifferent:

JEWEL – PICKING UP THE PIECES (ALBUM REVIEW)
September 28, 2015 by Peter Zimmerman

Many, including Jewel herself, have dubbed her latest album Picking Up The Pieces as a logical companion, or book-end, to her smash debut Pieces of You (1995). Except for diehard fans, though, people forget that Pieces of You was sprawling, slightly meandering, utterly honest, difficult, vulnerable, and razor sharp in its grappling with human flaws and emotions – it was not a neatly packaged album like many other famous, major-label debuts, which perhaps is why it took two years to break. But when it did, people connected to Jewel’s open-hearted and unrelenting gaze into the psyche, and were willing to go with her through the album’s dark twists and turns. But since then, Pieces has essentially been distilled to its major hit singles: “Who Will Save Your Soul,” “You Were Meant For Me,” “Foolish Games” and to some extent “Morning Song.”

This is natural, especially when radio constantly played those first three songs and their accompanying music videos were always on MTV and VH1. Her folk music played between Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, but found a following that grew way beyond niche. Add in a fairly grueling touring schedule, including opening for Bob Dylan, Neil Young, headlining Lilith Fair with other major 90’s  acts and you can see why people would crave a return to the Pieces of You aesthetic, but perhaps also why they’d forgotten what exactly that sounded like.

What’s so brilliant about Picking Up The Pieces, Jewel’s new album and first on Sugar Hill Records, is that it isn’t a nostalgia act. It isn’t her proverbially throwing up her hands and writing what the masses want to hear. It doesn’t compromise, but instead it takes some of her strongest songs from early in her career, emboldens her vocals, adds in some fantastic new songs and finds a production style that offers a raw, delightful look into what makes Jewel such a compelling singer/songwriter.

The album opens with “Love Used To Be,” one of the strongest songs she’s written since 2001’s This Way. It infuses her poetic sensibilities with a finger-picked guitar part, slowly building to a cathartic release at the end of the song. It catalogues the end of a relationship and the inevitable emotional fallout, but with a maturity and thoughtfulness that eschews bitterness and instead embraces growth and understanding. It signals that despite divorce and being in the business for over twenty years, this could be a period of intensely potent artistic expression. It’s a daring move to put this song first on the album – on one hand, it makes sense considering the recent upheaval in her personal life, but it’s also pretty different than what you hear on Pieces of You, which actually strengthens the album by building a foundation for itself that is firmly its own, and not merely a reflection of her debut.

“A Boy Needs a Bike” and “Everything Breaks” follow – both songs that have been in Jewel’s catalogue since the mid-90s. The former receives a more radio-friendly production, and the addition of a stronger band presence during the chorus adds weight to the song, but doesn’t lose the innocence and story-telling lilt of the piece. “Everything Breaks” is a standout – it’s a little less stripped down than in previous incarnations, but Jewel’s voice shines throughout.

Picking Up The Pieces is the first album that really showcases the strength, vitality and power of Jewel’s voice throughout, unvarnished and without interruption. On Pieces of You, there’s a clear discomfort in the studio tracks (she’s joked about it being her “Kermit the Frog” voice), and Spirit and This Way can veer a bit towards a radio-friendly voice that wasn’t as audible in her live shows. Picking Up The Pieces sounds like the first time she entered the studio and wasn’t afraid to step into the magnitude of her own voice. In her new book Never Broken, she writes about seeing shapes when creating a melody and understanding the technicalities of her voice, like falsetto, melisma, vibrato and yodeling, and how to control those to express emotion. In songs from Picking Up The Pieces like “Carnivore,” “Everything Breaks,” “Mercy” and “Nicotine Love” you can hear with crystal clear audio and the vocals so close up in the mix how strong Jewel’s voice really is, and what a gift it is to get it in such form twenty years into her career.

The past decade has been rough for Jewel and Jewel fans- children’s albums that came off as cloying rather than sweet, blatant attempts to break into country, which led to production choices that betrayed her strength in songwriting (2008’s Perfectly Clear is the main offender, with songs like “Rosey & Mick,” which used to be dark, haunting Dylan-like ballads being turned into saccharine country shuffles), and her commercial ventures, like PureVia and Swiffer.

And on Picking Up The Pieces, there are a couple missteps, but they’re vastly outweighed by the power and vitality of the rest of the album. “Plain Jane” feels written just for radio, but instead of highlighting cliché comes off as trite and cliché itself. And “It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now” just doesn’t connect – perhaps because of Rodney Crowell’s duet line. But that said, the remaining twelve tracks are all excellent, run the gamut in terms of structure and production, but ultimately shows what an incredible songwriter Jewel really is.

How interesting and rewarding it is that the first single from the album was “My Father’s Daughter,” which features Dolly Parton. The lyrics are heartfelt, simple and to the point, led by a minor key that breaks into major for the chorus, but it’s when you hear Dolly and Jewel sing together that it really comes together. At one point, Jewel takes harmony while Dolly sings lead, and then they switch. It’s a great parallel for Jewel’s career – she’s been able to sing with music’s legends, but still carve out a path that is uniquely hers. That path is often winding and rough-hewn, but it’s honest. And Picking Up The Pieces shows that Jewel isn’t just a follower – she’s a great in her own right.