I have been a fan of Jewel since her first video appearance on MTV. I was blown away by the weet and innocent vocal of “You Were Meant for Me,” and the young girl with the crooked teeth and pretty smile who sang it. I bought the album, and every one since, even the experimental dance record, (I guess that’s what it was) 0304.
Still, I always felt Jewel was missing her true calling. I could see her slidiong comfortably into the country genre. I must be psychic.
On her first country record, Jewel returns to her acoustic roots to the tenth power. Instead of Strats and Les Pauls, we get more fiddle, pedal steel and dobro. Her new songs explore empowerment ("Stronger Woman," "Perfectly Clear") and anger ("Anyone But You") as well as betrayal ("Till She Feels Like Cheating") and romantic fulfillment ("Everything Reminds Me of You," "Two Become One.") All of the songs are great, and her voice sounds as unique and sweet as ever.
Going country wasn’t hard for Jewel. Everybody knows her Dad was a cowboy, and how many times have we seen her yodeling on TV and in concert. Her songs have always had that ballad, story telling quality and with Perfectly Clear, she explores her style even fuller. It’s like a homecoming.
Perfectly Clear may just be the best album Jewel has ever released. Simply great songs delivered with tons of heart and soul.
-Michael Buffalo Smith