Jewel displays maturity as a singer and songwriter |

Jewel displays maturity as a singer and songwriter

Susan Wood

Jewel sang in Tahoe last week.

There’s a reason some compact disc buyers snub live performances. Few artists can mimic their recordings. Jewel, a ballad singer known for her haunting melodies and easy style, is one exception.

She came armed on stage at MontBleu Resort Casino Saturday night in a short dress and high heels with an acoustical guitar slung over her shoulder. It was as natural as a body part. Her towering voice reverberating across the showroom seemed effortless. And, her personable way between songs gave the audience a two-hour glimpse at the evolution of her music and her life as a singer-songwriter. Some of the music is timeless.

After receiving much input when she asked what the captive audience wanted to hear, she pulled out a number that delighted the crowd — many apparent fans who could have easily mouthed a lot of the words if not for insisting she dominate the room.

She recalled listening to the radio after the 9/11 terrorist attack and hearing “Hands,” a song she wrote while camping years ago for her “Spirit” album.

“In the end, only kindness matters,” she sang in a commanding tone.

Jewel sprinkled the song with her new and old stuff. Upon finishing “Foolish Games,” a man up front yelled: “That’s your best song.”

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“You think so?” she responded.

Every song seems to tell a story for this modern-day poet. And she could relate to some listeners’ various interpretations of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” with “Who’ll Save Your Soul,” a cut off her first album “Pieces of You.”

“When I wrote that, I got more bibles sent to me,” she said.

A worldly woman, Jewel has got around and seen humanity from the wilds of Alaska, body-beautiful San Diego and salt-of-the-Earth Stephenville, Texas. The latter inspired a song off her latest album “Goodbye Alice in Wonderland,” a get-back-to-her roots compilation of songs.

“The greatest thing about Texas is you can say anything about someone if you just say “bless her heart.”

The concert appeared to bring the audience closer to Jewel, who provided inside stories including a dream that Bob Dylan made an advance toward her.

A new record label, ongoing relationship with rodeo star Ty Murray — Jewel has come a long way from the green opening act for Dylan.