March 7, 2013

Jewel brings her 'Greatest Hits' to Portland

The singer, who grew up in Alaska and now lives in Texas, likes to experiment with different musical styles.

By Ray Routhier
Staff Writer

Jewel felt like she was able to channel her inner hillbilly for the role of country singing star June Carter Cash in the upcoming TV film "Ring of Fire."

click image to enlarge

For her “Greatest Hits” album, which was released Tuesday, Jewel re-recorded some of her best-known songs.

Courtesy photos

Jewel, InStyle, June 1, 2003
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WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $41 to $108

INFO: 842-0800;

WHAT ELSE: Holly Williams opens

She had, after all, grown up in rural Alaska with very few amenities. And she knows something about country music.

"I grew up on a homestead with an outhouse as an Alaskan hillbilly, and I know June and her family (from Virginia) were hillbillies in their own right," said Jewel, 38. "As an actress, it's a challenging role. I know for actresses, the singing might make them uncomfortable. But for me, I can do the singing, but the acting is a challenge."

The Lifetime movie, which is based on a biography of June by John Carter Cash (her son with Johnny Cash), is supposed to air this spring. But Jewel probably isn't sitting around waiting for the movie to air -- she's got a pretty busy spring booked as she continues to find a balance between motherhood and her career.

She took the role of Carter Cash at least partly because she could have her baby, Kase, with her during filming. And on her current "Greatest Hits Tour," she's got Kase, now 18 months old, with her as well. In fact, she'll have him with her when she brings her tour to Portland's Merrill Auditorium on Sunday.

Jewel has been doing online research to find things to do with toddlers in southern Maine so she and Kase can have some fun together during any off time she might have.

"I've been looking for things to do with kids -- children's museums, things like that," said Jewel, who is married to champion bull rider Ty Murray and lives in rural Texas. "I'm glad I'm able to have him with me."

Although she is still relatively young, Jewel has been performing professionally since she was a teenager. So besides personal changes, like having a baby, she's seen a lot of shifts in the music industry since her first major hit, "Who Will Save Your Soul," in 1995.

A positive change for her has been the evolution of social media that allows her to interact, albeit electronically, with fans.

"For me, that's been great. I love the Twitter," said Jewel, who then let out a chuckle. "Huh. I said 'the Twitter' -- just like my grandma."

Jewel went out of her way to interact with fans about three years ago as a skit for the website, started by comedian Will Ferrell's production company. In the skit, Jewel enters a Los Angeles karaoke bar disguised (dark wig, fake nose, enhanced rear end) as a woman named Karen who is in town attending a frozen foods convention.

After a while, her faux fellow conventioners convince her to sing, and what does Karen pick? A Jewel song, of course.

"I was a little reluctant, because I thought it might be narcissistic, but it turned out to be touching. All those folks were really pulling for Karen to make it," she said. "It was very sweet. It reminded me of when I sang in bars and nobody knew me, yet there were people really pulling for me."

Jewel says one negative thing about the music industry that has not changed during her career is the way labels continue to pigeonhole artists, trying to market their music narrowly so it fits into some sales report category.

She is still frustrated that one of her bigger pop hits, "You Were Meant for Me," was never really marketed to country stations, even though she thought of it as a country song.

(Continued on page 2)

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