Jewel's latest project, "Picking Up the Pieces," is her 12th album. This self-produced recording is a collection of what the artist calls a throwback to her first album, "Pieces of You." She says she abandoned all she had learned from the music business over the past two decades in order to achieve her goals with this album. In doing so, she called on Dolly Parton to join her on the album's first single, "My Father's Daughter."
Jewel was kind enough to talk about why she chose Dolly for the song. Much like Dolly's "Coat of Many Colors," this song is an autobiographical telling of Jewel's family and childhood. She says her unique lifestyle, growing up on a remote Alaskan homestead, is part of why she looked up to Dolly, both musically and as a role model. She said,
"I loved that Dolly always was very unapologetic about who and what she is. She was just very proud of who she was and where she came from, and that gave me a lot of courage as a young woman to say and speak my mind and to be exactly who I was and to be authentic."
In the official video, a young Jewel dances to Dolly's 1972 album, "Just the Way I Am." Fittingly, this particular song is about proudly accepting unique personality traits, especially free-spirited ones. Dolly is a big Jewel fan and has been for a long time. She said,
"I've loved Jewel from the first time I saw her and heard her. She's like a little sister to me. We have so much in common in how we grew up poor girls, how we feel about God, family and music. I am so proud of this duet with her. I think our voices blend like family. We hope you love it as much as we loved doing it."
Watch the official video of "My Father's Daughter" by Jewel (featuring Dolly Parton).
Jewel went on to talk about releasing this album along with a new book, "Never Broken," while maintaining her primary role as mother to her four-year-old son. She even offered some tips to other moms who face similar challenges when balancing family and work. She said,
"Go slow and see what works for you. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a mom that's actually going back into the workplace, both are really great and really noble things, and you have to find what works for you and what works for your family."
Most Dolly fans are aware of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which is a book gifting program that has sent over 72 million free books to children in four countries. The program is active in Telluride, CO, where Jewel and her son live. It is also present in Homer, AK, near her family’s homestead, the setting of the Discovery Channel’s "Alaska: The Last Frontier." Jewel says the Imagination Library is wonderful and even talks about the importance books have played in her music and songwriting. She shared,
"As a young child it meant the world to me to be able to escape into books, and I learned everything I know about writing from books, by reading great authors."
"Coat of Many Colors," originally released in 1971, was the first of Dolly’s songs Jewel remembers hearing. She says it resonated with her because of her own humble upbringing. Knowing NBC plans to release the film version of the song this December and more movies based on Dolly's music in 2016, Jewel says, if given the chance, she would like to play Jolene!
With the release of "My Father's Daughter," Jewel joins a long and distinguished list of Dolly's duet partners. Surely, she found gold while picking up the pieces.
Recording with Dolly
"Raising my son is like writing a song that lasts forever." --Jewel
The first time she heard Dolly
Jewel on achieving success in multiple musical genres
The song, "Just the Way I Am" first appeared on Dolly’s 1970 album, "The Fairest of Them All." In late 1972, RCA Camden compiled songs from her 1967-1970 recordings. The label wanted to introduce newer fans to these earlier hits.
According to Dolly, Porter Wagoner was influential in getting her signed to RCA. She found it hard to leave her good friend Fred Foster at Monument Records. The story goes that Porter wanted Dolly on RCA and made them an offer they simply could not refuse. Dolly said,
"Porter told them he would pay them every cent they ever lost on me out of his own pocket. He never had to pay a dime."
The album, "Just the Way I Am" features several of Dolly's well-known recordings, including many she wrote or co-wrote. "My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy," "In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)," and "Daddy Come and Get Me" all appear on the compilation. The collection also includes the Scott Davis song, “In the Ghetto.”
"In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)" was the title cut on her 1968 record. The song reached No. 25 on the US Country charts. "My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy" was the title track on a 1969 release. It climbed to No. 45 on the US Country charts. "Daddy Come and Get Me" was a Top 40 country hit in 1970. “In the Ghetto” from the album "My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy," peaked at No. 50 on the US Country charts.