Can Jewel Save Your Soul?

Is your soul sinking into despair? Luckily, OffBeat’s got a lifeline for you… We’re giving away a pair of tickets to see yodeling coffeehouse balladeer-turned-country singer-songwriter Jewel at the Morial Convention Center on Monday, October 29. To cast your lot, all you have to do is fill out the form below by Friday afternoon (October 19).

Jewel Publicity Photo

One of the 90s’ biggest pop music stars, Alaska native Jewel Kilcher took up songwriting and playing guitar while a student at Michigan’s Interlochen Arts Academy boarding high school, matriculating alongside fellow future-renowned songwriters Sufjan Stevens and Rufus Wainwright. After roughing it in a van for a few years and busking on street corners and coffeehouses, Jewel’s big break came in 1994 when, at the age of 20, she caught the ear of late Neil Young guitarist Ben Keith. Keith would go on to produce Jewel’s wildly successful debut Pieces of You, which also featured the playing of fellow NY alums pianist Spooner Oldham and bassist Tim Drummond. The album was recorded at Young’s storied Broken Arrow Ranch — which, among others, seeded Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s raucous grunge era comeback Ragged Glory — and her signature tune “Who Will Save Your Soul.”

On the heels of “Who Will Save Your Soul’s” unexpected success, in 1997 Atlantic Records rereleased Pieces of You, incorporating rerecorded versions of the songs “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games.” The original versions of those two top 40 hits were recorded in — you guessed it — a coffehouse.

Pieces of You would go on to be one of the highest selling albums of the ’90s, not to mention one of the biggest debuts of all time, finishing the decade with more sales than such memorable and/or forgettable multi-platinum LPs as: Nirvana’s Nevermind, Green Day’s Dookie, Guns and Roses’ Use Your Illusion I & II, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magic, U2’s Achtung Baby, Tupac’s All Eyez on Me, the Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death, MC Hammer’s Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, Vanilla Ice’s To the Extreme, Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, Ace of Base’s The Sign, the Spice Girls’ Spice, as well as NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, Savage Garden and Third Eye Blind’s eponymous efforts.

Though Jewel has never quite recaptured the success of her 90s’ mega-hit, she has managed to steer her career through the highs and lows that followed, her soul and her sense of humor (covertly) in tact. Most recently Jewel tried her hand as a country singer on 2011’s Sweet and Wild, an album that rose to as high as number three on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.

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