NEW Club EDA Downloads!
For this month's
free Club EDA downloads, we explore the title song to Jewel's 6th album, Perfectly Clear, which was also her
first for The Valory Music Company, an imprint label under the Big Machine
umbrella. Just seven months after the fledgling
country music label's 2007 launch, Perfectly Clear would provide Valory
their first #1 album and expose Jewel to a whole new legion of
country music fans.
the album came out, I recall some heated
discussion about "Jewel going country," when country had always figured
strongly in her music. In addition to the many examples found in her songwriting catalogue, Jewel often expressed her desire to record a
country album. She even did so during one of her highest profile Rolling Stone cover interviews, but
it still seemed to catch many by surprise.
Yours truly was asked about this very subject by a correspondent for the L.A. Times
around the time Perfectly Clear was released. (This article remains online here.) I'm far less articulate when speaking, but in that interview I tried to emphasize that Jewel had always written country flavored
material. I less successfully attempted to convey that she doesn't perceive
musical genres as boundaries or limitations and that each new album is substantially different from its predecessors. Plain and
simple, its not easy to pin Jewel down. She tends to explore whatever form of music happens
to tickle her fancy at any given time. Veteran EDAs and those who've caught various concert tours over the years are well
aware of this diversity in her work (and embrace and encourage it), but many in the
music industry, quite a few journalists and indeed some fans have had difficulty coming
to grips with such wide ranging musical pursuits. But back to the
song at hand...
In terms of country music as a root element in Jewel's early songwriting, one
would be hard pressed to find a better example than the song "Perfectly Clear." Despite not being issued until that 2008
album, the song dates back to the dawn of Jewel's career,
when she was a 19 year old songwriter just starting out on the San Diego
coffeehouse circuit. The first known performance was at an August 1993
InnerChange Coffeehouse gig and she recorded a demo the following month. That early demo was indeed
labeled as "Perfectly Clear," but for years everyone knew it
as "Studies In Love #12," which was how Jewel often introduced
it at concerts.
Another of her early character study songs, "Perfectly Clear"
explores the demise of a relationship. Jewel prefaces this month's
download audio with a brief introduction about writing it, so I'll let that convey
her motivational process. It would come and
go from her live repertoire, often disappearing for years at a time,
before she finally decided to tackle a definitive studio version.
When it turned up as the closing and title track of her Perfectly Clear
album in 2008, the arrangement had developed considerably. Instead of the simple acoustic guitar instrumentation she had always relied on, the album version had a more elaborate arrangement based
around piano and viola (much like Foolish Games) and with a full band on
board as the song progressed. I
personally found the album arrangement quite compelling, especially Jonathan
Yudkin's contributions on viola, and wasn't surprised when it became the album's title
song. As much as I enjoyed the new arrangement and thought
the studio musicians greatly enhanced the song, I also still find undeniable
charm in the way Jewel performs it in concert - accompanied only by her
For this months free download, we'll be
listening to "Perfectly Clear" in its original solo acoustic form, recorded just a few weeks ago
during Jewel's return visit to San Diego at the beautiful outdoor venue Humphreys
By The Bay. The lo-res snapshots at the
top and bottom of this page are both from this performance. A much nicer hi-res
photo of Jewel in action, shot that same night by renowned photographer West
Kennerly, is also included for you, as are Jewel's handwritten lyrics to the
If you are already a
registered member of jeweljk.com, simply log in to the community area and help yourself to
the free files here. If you are not yet registered, please register first here. Its free and
easy. If you experience any technical difficulty, don't hesitate to ask
for help at email@example.com. If you’ve missed any of our previous Club
EDA downloads, all of them are still available, so you can help yourself to those
files as well. For details on the previous downloads, you can access my
previous blogs about them by clicking "Alan." In
regards to our free downloads, we respectfully request that rather than share
the free files elsewhere, that you do Jewel the favor of instead sharing the
link to join her free Club EDA community, so that others can download the free
files themselves. Please spread the word rather than the files and help Jewel
build her online community. You can read her thoughts on this here.
Recorded live at Humphreys
By The Bay in San Diego, California on September 7, 2012, enjoy this most recent live performance
of "Perfectly Clear" as this month's free
Club EDA download.