Thoughts on Jewel & Other Matters

Jewel Kilcher

The January issue of Cowboy & Indians features an article and interview with Jewel. This glossy, high quality magazine features an individual each month. I knew a few things about Jewel: that she lived in Stephenville, Texas with her now husband, Ty Murray, a seven-time World All-Around Rodeo Champion, that her song and poetry writing abilities are extraordinary, and that she was a decent actress (Ride with the Devil, a fine Civil War movie). She is one artist who paid her dues in life, made her music and made it her way. Joe Leydon’s article points out that Jewel lived in her car for the better part of a year. She played small clubs coffeehouses and “anywhere else she could pass the hat, or, when she was really lucky, receive payment based on the size of the crowd she attracted.” She said she began writing her own songs to have enough material for an act. The article continues, “Then she made the rounds of the venues open to eager nobodies . . . Jewel slowly accumulated a small but enthusiastic following in San Diego.”  Then through local broadcasts of a bootlegged tape, record company executives found her.

About herself, Jewel says, “I wasn’t doing popular music . . . I was a songwriter, I was a storyteller. I was a throwback to the types of music I like, which are–I don’t think serious is the right word, but just lyric driven. Nobody thought I had a chance in heck. Including me” (110).

Her artistic standards and individuality is why there’s always been a classification problem with her. Does she belong in pop or country genres? The article says, “Despite her absence on Country radio playlists, Country music fans gravitated to her concerts. ‘They woud hear my music because I was on . . . Leno or Letterman . . . So they’d find their way to me and I would find my way to them.’ ”

Pick up an issue  of Cowboy & Indians and read this article yourself. There are also some fine photos of Jewel inside.

Musicians News:

Jim Crowley – Dec. 11 Enoch’s. You should go experience the music of this Irish legend.

Jed Marum – Dec. 20 at Enoch’s. This Internationally known Celtic and Civil War musician is making history. You mark my words.

Here is a photo of me, along Louisiana Highway 165. When I took this, I was thinking of the epigraph in Fahrenheit 451 by Juan Ramon Jiminez, which says, “If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.”