sat 23/09/2023

CD: Jewel - Picking Up the Pieces | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Jewel - Picking Up the Pieces

CD: Jewel - Picking Up the Pieces

The Alaska-raised singer returns to form

Coming full circle: Jewel Kilcher

Jewel fans from circa 1995, when the folky rebel-poet-warrior's first multi-platinum album Pieces of Me (one of the best-selling debut albums of all time) was released, have been longing for more of that fresh, raw, melodic artistry ever since.

But after the fiercely made Spirit, a world tour and This Way, what came next was a seemingly experimental series of new sounds – the bewildering intellectual pop of 0304, a Christmas album, two kids' CDs released by Fisher Price, a country album and a starring role as June Carter Cash in a Lifetime Channel film.

Twenty years on and Picking Up the Pieces comes full circle. It harks back to those early days (in fact some songs are re-writes from tracks that were created in the late nineties) in a way that is is transient and transcendental. And this time there is gravitas behind that well-worn honest power, that of someone who has really loved and really lived. There is the same search for truth and meaning, reflections on trust and intimacy with an echo of protest songs. But Jewel the folk singer has shed the metaphorical puppy fat and thrown off the shackles of marketeers, managers, tour-promoters and industry bigwigs that seemingly had such effect on her musical career. With this album we see her new again.

The talking point of Picking Up the Pieces is "My Father’s Daughter", a duet with Dolly Parton telling the tale of the Alaska-raised singer’s grandparents when they emigrated from Europe. It is one of Jewel’s best story songs, breathtaking in its simplicity and pleasing in its harmony. "Love Used To Be" and "Everything Breaks" are painful to listen to but beautiful in their honesty. "Mercy", "It Doesn't Hurt Right Now" and "His Pleasure Is My Pain" are highlights but the album as a whole is deeply loveable. It is nostalgic in spirit, sound and lyric, with heartbreak and hope in equal measures. Jewel’s ship has sailed stormy waters and it might not have harboured yet but it is this duality that makes Picking Up the Pieces so great.


Jewel the folk singer has shed the metaphorical puppy fat and thrown off the shackles of marketeers, managers, tour promoters and industry bigwigs


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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