Still saving souls
In 1995, an Alaskan named Jewel Kilcher released her debut album “Pieces of You.” The songs “Who Will Save Your Soul” and “You Were Meant for Me” helped the album reach multi-platinum status, and Jewel became a poster child of 1990s music.
“It took me two years — two years — to get ‘You Were Meant for Me’ on the radio. God dang, it was a lot. I came (out) at the height of grunge. But every record has been like that for me. It’s been about slinging it out and using the Internet and having fans do guerilla warfare to create an appetite, where radio stations have to say, ‘Well, I guess, let’s play it.’ It was nothing but grit and time to get it going,” Jewel told Rolling Stone Country.
It’s been more than 20 years since Jewel became part of the American lexicon, and the winter of 2017 finds her in the midst of “Jewel’s Handmade Holiday Tour.” Jewel is also bringing her family along to perform with her for the 20-city tour, a first for the singer/songwriter. Her dad, Atz Kilcher, and brothers Atz Lee and Nikos Kilcher will all be taking the stage. Both the Atzes are featured on the Discovery Channel show “Alaska: The Last Frontier,” now airing its seventh season.
“As kids, I toured a lot with my father, but this is the first time as an adult that I get to share the road with my dad and my brothers,” Jewel told People magazine.
More than a concert, the Handmade Holiday Tour features a craft component. A limited number of concert-goers who arrive before the show will get to take part in a craft experience, where they will get to meet Jewel-approved artisans and make a gift to take home. The unique gift-making is a Christmas tradition of the Kilcher clan.
“I decided to start this annual Handmade Holiday Tour to create an antidote to the stress and overwhelm I am seeing in culture, and to help us focus on the simple pleasures that make us feel satisfied and truly happy. My Handmade Holiday Tour is designed to provide experiences that friends and families alike can use to connect and make meaningful gifts and, most importantly, memories to share for a lifetime,” she told People magazine.
On Dec. 11, Jewel is bringing the entire holiday extravaganza to Hoyt Sherman Place. A holiday tour isn’t typical for most musicians; however, Jewel has released not one but two full-length Christmas albums — “Joy: A Holiday Collection” in 1999 and “Let It Snow: A Holiday Collection” in 2013. Both albums feature Christmas classics and a few of Jewel’s Christmas originals. Attendees can expect to hear material from both albums as well as her non-Christmas hits.
When she’s not spreading Christmas cheer, Jewel is still releasing albums of original material. Her most recent was 2015’s self-produced “Picking Up the Pieces,” which garnered positive reviews from both critics and fans. Many of the songs recorded were originally written around the same time as her debut album and take her back to her folksy roots. Hardcore and casual 1990s-nostalgic fans were excited to see the return to form.
“Some have been underground hits and have been requested at every show. Fans will ask for ‘Carnivore’ before they’ll ask for ‘You Were Meant for Me.’ I’ve been wanting to (record them), because I know there is an appetite in my fan base for them at least. But there just wasn’t the right record,” she told Rolling Stone Country.
At 43 years old, Jewel has toured steadily since “Who Will Save Your Soul” made her a star, recorded 12 albums, released three books and has numerous acting credits to her name. ♦