Jewel – Picking Up The Pieces (2015) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Jewel – Picking Up The Pieces (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:02:36 minutes | 732 MB | Genre: Folk
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Digital booklet | @ Concord Sugar Hill

Picking Up the Pieces is Jewel’s 14-track LP through Sugar Hill Records. She self-produced the record – with her first producer, the late Ben Keith, always in mind – and hired a band comprised mostly of Neil Young collaborators to help her strip away the veneer she’d built up over two decades in the music business.

“This is just me. These are my thoughts. These are my feelings. This is my poetry,” Jewel said. “It really felt like returning to a part of me that I didn’t mean to lose, but with time and relationships and life and surviving and dealing, you take on new things and not all of them are great.”

The last five years have been full of change, both personal and creative, for the 41-year-old Alaska-born singer. Her 4-year-old son Kase was born, but her marriage fell apart. She wrote her memoir, Never Broken, and recorded a pair of children’s albums. Picking Up the Pieces captures some of these moments on “Love Used to Be” and “Mercy,” but also gathers longtime unrecorded live favorites like “Carnivore” and “Boy Needs a Bike.” The album also includes “My Father’s Daughter,” a stunning autobiographical collaboration with Dolly Parton.

“I was trying to keep my mind quiet and honestly get back to something I feel like I’d lost touch with in my life. It was really an exercise in shutting out fear. I was giving myself permission to be exactly who and what I was.”

Picking Up the Pieces contains a not-so-subtle allusion to the title of Jewel’s 1995 debut Pieces of You. Twenty years later, the singer/songwriter is acknowledging how she’s strayed from the folky fragility of her beginnings and is now ready to reconnect with her roots, going so far as to sign with folk label Sugar Hill for Picking Up the Pieces. Over the course of this hour-long effort, Jewel does find some space for guests — Rodney Crowell shows up on “It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now,” Dolly Parton on “My Father’s Daughter” — and there are gentle accouterments like moaning sitars, full rhythm sections, and gliding pianos, all arrangements that are felt more than heard. Despite these gentle touches, Picking Up the Pieces feels unadorned but not necessarily simple. Often, it’s possible to feel the weight of the two decades dividing Pieces of You and Picking Up the Pieces, usually in the loss of Jewel’s naivete. On her debut, she felt youthful and instinctive, but on this, her 12th album, she relies on craft, sculpting the songs so they recall a younger version of her. This tactic has its drawbacks — usually lyrical, with the “you like to read scientific magazines like Vanity Fair/there was a well-written article about serotonin in there” on the sweetly cynical “Plain Jane” typifying her heavy-handed touch — but melodically she’s a stronger writer now than she was then and a better recordmaker, too. All those naïve rough edges were ingratiating on Pieces of You, but they’d seem affected on a mature Jewel, so her decision to return to the form but not the sensibility of her earlier music is what makes Picking Up the Pieces a successful neo-comeback. -AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

1 Love Used To Be 05:42
2 A Boy Needs A Bike 04:10
3 Everything Breaks 04:02
4 Family Tree 03:36
5 It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now (feat. Rodney Crowell) 04:36
6 His Pleasure Is My Pain 05:43
7 Here When Gone 04:45
8 The Shape Of You 04:16
9 Plain Jane 03:50
10 Pretty Faced Fool 03:51
11 Nicotine Love 06:33
12 Carnivore 04:20
13 My Father 03:25
14 Mercy 03:47

Jewel – vocals, guitar, body percussion
Michael Rojas – keys
Rob McNelley – electric guitar
Dan Dugmore – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, pedal steel
Russ Pahl – pedal steel
Michael Rhodes – bass
Chad Cromwell – drums

Rodney Crowell – vocals, guitar (on “It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now”)
Dolly Parton – vocals (on “My Father’s Daughter”)



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