May 02--Jewel's live sets are unplanned. No set list, no script, no worries.
"I just go in and talk to the audience a lot," she said during a recent telephone interview. "I have, like, 500 songs I've written, so I tell stories about my life. It's acoustic. It's almost like a stand-up set. I take requests. Fans show up with lyric sheets in case they request a song I don't know," she said, then laughed. "It's like being in my living room."
The country-pop-folk musician returns to Tulsa for a concert Friday at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
Her earliest years were as a pop and folk singer, with hits including "Who Will Save Your Soul," "You Were Meant for Me" and "Foolish Games," and more recently with country-folk pop tunes "Stronger Woman," "I Do," and "'Til It Feels Like Cheating."
"I've never made a distinction of whether I'm 'pop' or 'country' or 'folk,' " she said. "I've always written it all. To me, music is like clothing. Some days I feel like wearing sweats, some days I feel like wearing a dress. Why should music be any different?"
Jewel (born Jewel Kilcher) was raised on an Alaskan homestead without running water or electricity.
"There was no radio, no television," she said. "We ate what we could kill or can."
She sang with her father in local bars, and to Eskimos and Aleuts in remote places after rides on dog sleds to remote places. "I'd sing what he taught me to sing. I'd sing Elvis, Beatles, Jim Croce. I didn't hear the originals until years later."
She said that helped her to learn music on "its own terms," as stories to be told, as honest and pure, without pomp or swagger.
"At age 14, the first musician I was drawn to was Cole Porter," she said of the American singer and songwriter who later came to fame writing for Broadway.
Jewel later tuned in to Tracy Chapman, opera, classical music and Joni Mitchell, she said.
She's sold more than 27 million albums worldwide since her 1995 major label debut, "Pieces of You."
This year, she's releasing two greatest hits albums, "Greatest Hits" and "Greatest Hits Remixed," the former with guests Kelly Clarkson and the Pistol Annies, the latter filled with club-ready mashups.
Since having her first child with husband Ty Murray in 2011, she's also returning to the road after a 1 1/2-year break, she said. She often brings toddler Kase Townes with her and stays on the road only a few weeks at a time.
She has also found time to record a Christmas album -- slated for release later this year -- and a children's book, "Sweet Dreams for You." The title was taken from a song she wrote for her 2009 album "Lullaby," full of, you guessed it, nursery rhymes and lullabies.
A follow-up, "The Merry Goes 'Round," was released in 2011 and was named the iTunes children's album of the year. A children's book based on the album, "That's What I'd Do," came out in 2012.
Later this month Jewel has the lead role in the made-for-TV film "Ring of Fire," portraying June Carter Cash. It wasn't anything she tried out for, or even expected.
"The role came out of the blue," she said. "I didn't even audition. I've only done a little bit of acting."
But she was not nervous, she said. Instead, she felt challenged.
"This is a dramatic, difficult, well-written script," she said. The screenplay is based on Cash's book, "Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash." It will premiere May 27 on the Lifetime network.
These days, Jewel has returned to her ranching ways with her husband in Stephenville, Texas. Her son coos in the background while she talks on the phone.
"We have running water and electricity this time around," she said, then laughed.
When: Doors open 7 p.m., showtime 8 p.m. Friday
Where: The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, 777 W. Cherokee St., Catoosa
Tickets: $40-$55, available at tulsaworld.com/hardrockcasino, the venue box office or by calling 918-384-ROCK. Must be at least 21 years old.
Jennifer Chancellor 918-581-8346
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