Jewel and Brad Paisley are teaming up for a concert tour this summer, set to kick off June 11 in Albuquerque, N.M., as the former continues her transition into the country music market.
Jewel — who’s sold 30 million albums and scored pop hits such as “Who Will Save Your Soul,” ” You Were Meant For Me,” “Foolish Games” and “Hands” — is set to release her first country album, “Perfectly Clear,” on June 3 via Valory.
The album’s first single, “Strong Woman,” is currently at No. 14 on the Hot Country Songs chart, but Jewel notes that Paisley invited her to tour with him “before my song went Top 20, which is really nice of him.”
Jewel also notes that with her track record, she didn’t necessarily have to submit to 45-minute opening sets, but says, “I really look at this as a building kind of thing. I want to show that I’m serious about this [country] thing, and I’m willing to pay my dues.
“I think my fans are going to like Brad because he’s a songwriter and a musician; my fans like the real deal. And I think his fans are going to like me. I think it’s a great fit, audience-wise…. I’m expecting it to be a lot of fun.”
Jewel says she’s been a country music fan and has written country songs since she was a child, growing up on a ranch near Homer, Alaska, with a father who was “a cowboy listening to very traditional country music.”
She says of her previous, pop-oriented albums that producers often “took the twang out of my song arrangements or melodic structures,” and adds that she is looking forward to having a chance to put those elements back into her music.
“I have a lot of songs I thought would’ve been great on country radio, especially as country radio has opened up as a format and pop has narrowed,” explains Jewel, who re-cut “2 Become 1” from her 2003 album “0304” for “Perfectly Clear.”
“I thought ‘You Were Meant For Me’ would’ve been great for country, ‘Foolish Games,’ ‘Hands,’ ‘Fragile Heart’…. ‘Standing Still’ had a few [country] stations asking to play it.
“I just feel like [country] is a great continuation for me. I don’t really feel like it’s a musical switch, like it’s the end of something and the beginning of something new. I’ve been here all my life; now I’m just getting a chance to really do it. I’m excited about that.”
Jewel is slated to join Paisley for 36 dates, with the tour concluding Oct. 18 in Selma, Texas.