11 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Teaming up with producer John Rich of Big and Rich for her first foray into country music, modern day adult-contemporary folksinger Jewel easily makes the transition. Actually, it isn’t a transition so much as a matter of instrument choices. Rich adds slide guitar, fiddle, banjo and mandolin to Jewel’s usual arsenal of acoustic guitar and piano. Jewel tilts her delivery slightly towards country music inflections, but it’s mostly the back-up singers, the interjected instrumental hooks and the overall pacing of the tunes that signify country. “I Do” would be a straight-forward pop tune if not for its slide guitar solo. “Stronger Woman” delivers a self-empowerment anthem that’s one electric guitar shy of pop-rock. “Love is A Garden,” Two Become One,” and “Anyone But You” settle in for soft-rock with pianos leading Jewel down the contemplative path of pleasant love song platitudes. Jewel’s strengths have always been her melodies and her irony-free sincerity. And, yes, she gets her chance to use her legendary yodeling skills for “Loved By You (Cowboy Waltz).”  Still not a complete country girl, but she’s on the range.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Teaming up with producer John Rich of Big and Rich for her first foray into country music, modern day adult-contemporary folksinger Jewel easily makes the transition. Actually, it isn’t a transition so much as a matter of instrument choices. Rich adds slide guitar, fiddle, banjo and mandolin to Jewel’s usual arsenal of acoustic guitar and piano. Jewel tilts her delivery slightly towards country music inflections, but it’s mostly the back-up singers, the interjected instrumental hooks and the overall pacing of the tunes that signify country. “I Do” would be a straight-forward pop tune if not for its slide guitar solo. “Stronger Woman” delivers a self-empowerment anthem that’s one electric guitar shy of pop-rock. “Love is A Garden,” Two Become One,” and “Anyone But You” settle in for soft-rock with pianos leading Jewel down the contemplative path of pleasant love song platitudes. Jewel’s strengths have always been her melodies and her irony-free sincerity. And, yes, she gets her chance to use her legendary yodeling skills for “Loved By You (Cowboy Waltz).”  Still not a complete country girl, but she’s on the range.

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