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Sweet and Wild by Jewel

Working with top-shelf songwriters such as Nashville’s Brett James and frequent Taylor Swift collaborator Liz Rose, Jewel returns with a batch of introspective, acoustic-driven songs that are at once languid and free-spirited, with fiercely focused themes.

Two Jewel/Dave Berg collaborations are must-listens: “Ten” finds her thinking twice (or 10 times) before leaving after a nasty falling-out with a significant other, while the wistful, poetic “What You Are” looks frankly at self-esteem issues in lines such as I give love to others / But I give myself hell. The softly romantic “Summer Home in Your Arms” recalls her hit “You Were Meant for Me” with its acoustic guitar backing and poetic lyrics.

“Stay Here Forever” (from the movie Valentine’s Day) is a sweet, jingly tune, while the ballad “Satisfied” imparts wisdom with heartfelt emotion.

Though her classy, docile voice may be overshadowed by more theatrical singers in country music, Jewel’s gems neatly toe the line between art and commerce.

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