This month's free Club EDA download was recently suggested by one of our most active EDA followers on Twitter, Vincent D'Agostino (aka mycuzinvinnie), who we had the pleasure of meeting a year ago at Jewel's Texfest event. Vinnie requested that we showcase a live performance of "Stand," one of the most popular 0304 album tracks, which is exactly what we'll be exploring today. Jewel recently shared with me some recollections about writing this song, which I'll also be sharing with you in this here blog.
As many of you already know, "Stand" followed "Intuition" in October of 2003 as the second single released from Jewel's most experimental and controversial album to date, 0304. Although "Stand" only reached #16 on the Hot 100 Singles Sales charts, it became quite popular on the club circuit, becoming her third consecutive #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart (following "Serve The Ego" and "Intuition"). Jewel cowrote the song with Lester Mendez in November of 2002 after becoming enamored with a rhythm track he created. She wrote the melody and lyrics to specifically work with Lester's track. Although the sonic texture was quite different from most of her previous recordings, "Stand" was still lyrically driven and like much of her earlier work, a social commentary song. It was also a unique blend of pop, dance and folk elements, with verses that portrayed a disturbing society spiraling out of control - a topic also explored on her previous albums Pieces Of You, Spirit and This Way. Although the result would polarize many fans at the time, Jewel and Lester created an undeniably original blend of elements both old and new. As Jewel explains it:
I was trying to reinterpret the political folk song, while paying homage to the greats who have done it before me. Radicals who found a way to reframe ancient themes and old aspirations in a way that would speak to new generations. Questioning the norm and reimagening your own life. Feeling not only your life, but your world is in your power to control - if you just seize the opportunity. I liked using modern beats and computer programming with traditional folk and social commentary to help achieve the layering of history and cultures and times...
The following January (of 2003), Jewel and Lester recorded the primary tracks at a makeshift studio setup at her home in San Diego. Although the verse imagery was bleak and the chorus initially adds to a feeling of despair ("Mothers weep, children sleep, so much violence ends in silence"), Jewel's optimistic view comes through with a reaffirming end to the chorus ("If you will just take me, it might just complete me and together we can make a stand"). As a sidebar of possible interest to gearheads, "Stand" was also one of the first songs Jewel recorded after buying her vintage Neumann U-6o (a large diaphragm tube microphone made in the early 1960s - less than 50 are still known to exist!) and the Rolls Royce of tube mic pre-amps, a Telefunken V-76, equipment that has served her well - becoming the permanent vocal rig at her home studios ever since. During a break in the 0304 album sessions, Jewel also had an interesting encounter that reinforced her confidence about the adventurous musical direction of "Stand."
One of my favorite memories of this song is when I went to the Neverland Ranch and played it for Michael Jackson. A friend took me to meet him, when I was on a break from recording the album, and we were all visiting in his closet of all places. He was letting me see all of his iconic show clothes- the glove even! And my friend mentioned this song (we had been listening to a rough mix of it on the drive up) and Michael asked to hear it. He had a CD player in his bathroom, and he put it in and we all sat on Michael's bed and listened to it. I have never been so embarrassed in my life. But he listened with great intent, eyes shut, studying it. I really wished I had a guitar to play him something else! But when the song was over, he had such thoughtful things to say about it- and totally got the homage I was paying to different genres and generations of music... I stayed the night in the guest house and got to see his whole ranch- zoo and all! Pretty wild and a great memory!
Several weeks later, when it came time to sequence the 0304 album, "Stand" was deemed the perfect lead off track, as it was such a compelling blend of the elements Jewel and Lester had been exploring together.
The song had its live debut (with her band) at a charity event in Southlake, Texas about a month prior to the release of 0304 and was performed on TV (also with her band) several times around the album's release that June. It may surprise those only familiar with the full arrangement, but "Stand" also became a staple of Jewel's solo acoustic repertoire for awhile. The first time she attempted it without a band was in Atlantic City in September of 2003 and then it remained a staple of her solo acoustic performances for about a year or so. The live version presented today was recorded on July 17, 2004 during a solo acoustic concert at Toronto's Massey Hall. For those only familiar with the studio recording and the televised performances with her band, here the song is performed by Jewel alone - just voice and acoustic guitar. Its a perfect example of one of the key 0304 dance tracks stripped back down to its folky roots. In addition to this solo acoustic version of "Stand," a pdf file of Jewel’s handwritten lyrics are also included for you.
If you are already a registered member of jeweljk.com, simply log in to the community area and help yourself to the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 at Massey Hall in Toronto on July 17, 2004, enjoy this solo acoustic performance of "Stand" as this month's free Club EDA download. Alan