Release Date: Jun 3, 2008
Record label: Valory Music
Genre(s): Rock, Country
Pop-folkie Jewel’s finally gone country on her seventh album, Perfectly Clear, and it suits her: She’s an earnest storyteller, and in the land of steel guitars (and co-producer John Rich), there’s no shame in tracks titled ”Love Is a Garden” and ”Thump, Thump,” two sweet, sway-along tunes. And though self-help single ”Stronger Woman” is unremarkable radio fare, Jewel does conjure a few special ballads. Her thick vibrato makes desperation palpable on the Patsy-would-be-proud weeper ”Anyone but You,” and she actually yodels with soul on the soaring ”Loved by You (Cowboy Waltz).” B+DOWNLOAD THIS: Hear ”Anyone but You” on Jewel’s page on ilike.com .
It isn't hard to view Jewel's country music makeover on Perfectly Clear with a mildly cynical eye, especially as it follows her dance-pop shakeup on 2003's 0304 by a mere five years. Such whiplash changes in direction are bound to raise suspicion, but Jewel wears her country threads better than her diva hand-me-downs, possibly because it suits her mythical back-story of living out of the back of the truck but it's also a smaller leap from folk to country. .