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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jewel and Neil Young


During Neil Young's 1996 tour, singer-songwriter Jewel performed as the opening act in her first performances before large audiences. Certainly, a challenge for any act to open solo acoustic before an electric Crazy Horse set.

In discussing her new album, "Sweet and Wild", she recalls sage advice from Neil Young. From Winnipeg Free Press by Victoria Ahearn:
Jewel says the theme of her new album, "Sweet and Wild," is finding your inner truth and defending it.

It's a lesson Canadian music legend Neil Young taught her in the mid-1990s when she was touring with him and promoting her debut album, "Pieces of You," she explained in a recent interview.

At the time, her single "Who Will Save Your Soul" was "starting to have some baby success," she said, but the rest of the album was "struggling" to get off the ground and her label wanted her to give up on it and focus on a sophomore effort.

Desperate for a hit to avoid having to live in her car again, she agreed.

"I started writing kind of bad, hooky material that I thought would do well on radio but it just wasn't very me," the three-time Grammy-nominated artist, born Jewel Kilcher, said from her Texas ranch.

"I remember Neil kind of talking to me about it and I told him my dilemma. I was like, 'I wrote a song that the label loves and I just feel horrible about it, I think it's a crappy song but I really want a hit and I don't want to get dropped from my label,' and I was kind of in this terrible position.

"And Neil was like, 'Don't worry about it. Don't care about radio, don't think about radio, just keep writing what you write and stick to touring,' which kind of gave me the strength to try and keep doing that."

Later, as the album took off (it eventually sold over 12 million copies in the U.S.), Young offered her more sage advice as she walked off stage from a sound check at Madison Square Garden.

"I must have looked green because he goes, 'You look nervous,' and I was like, 'I am nervous,' and he's like, 'Why?' and I'm like, 'Because you're Neil Young and you have Crazy Horse and I'm going to die out there, they're going to murder me, solo acoustic!'" she said.

"And he looked at me, got real serious and he put his finger in my face and he goes: 'This is just another hash house on the road to success. You show them no respect,' which I thought was the coolest line ever!"

More on Neil Young's influence on other artists.

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At 6/23/2010 11:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks! These stories about Neil are such a pleasure to read and I'm sure I'd never come across it if not for your sleuthing it out and posting it on TW. This adds something great to the day.


At 6/23/2010 12:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a very nice review of the new album of Neil's one and only most beautiful jewel:
Sounds good to me.

Because Sound Matters

At 6/23/2010 01:30:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

Pieces of You was also produced by legendary Stray Gator Ben Keith, and featured playing by Spooner Oldham and Tim Drummond, both of who have played with Neil Young from time to time.

Great album. I wish all the rest of her albums had followed suit. But when she started to turn out technopop hits I was very disappointed.

No biggie though, that album is still beautiful.

At 6/23/2010 03:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how many times do we have to hear about how she used to live in her car? talk about overkill. try living on the street, jewel.

At 6/24/2010 05:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So easy for Neil to follow his muse, and advise others to do likewise. Well, after having huge success with CSN&Y and Harvest anyway. He could afford to do what he damn well felt like when he didn't have to worry about paying the bills anymore. He was just as desperate for a hit when he was younger and poorer.

At 6/24/2010 03:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did she save your soul?

At 6/27/2010 09:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just like thrasher


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