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Jewel Trips Through "Wonderland"

Singer-songwriter tells the pop story of her life in most diverse album yet

March 21, 2006 4:10 PM ET

For the follow-up to 2003's 0304, Jewel first ducked into the studio with a group of Nashville pros to self-produce a new, folky, Pieces of You-style album. But she didn't like the results, so she rerecorded the entire thing with Green Day producer Rob Cavallo, who gave her introspective songs a slick sheen.

In a matter of weeks, the pair reworked every cut live, overdubbing only percussion, for what would become Goodbye Alice in Wonderland, her new album out May 2nd.

"It tells the story of my life from Alaska to being homeless to that little bottle that said 'Drink me,' which was my career," she says.

The record finds the singer-songwriter exploring a number of musical styles -- from the country tinge of "Stephenville, TX" and upbeat pop of "Satellite," to the folksy opening one-two punch, "Again and Again" and "Long Slow Slide." "I'm a Gemini," Jewel says to explain her range. "I have a lot of moods."

To give her moods a flow, she programmed Alice's thirteen songs -- all recorded live -- as if the album were a concert. "I start in a certain place," she says, "bring it up into sort of a rock set, and then I come back down."

Though a downloader herself, Jewel says she still wants people to listen to Alice as a whole entity. "I'm old-fashioned about records," she confesses. "I want people to hear the whole record in the order I put it in."

Thinking of taking her new material on the road, Jewel adds, "If I can, I'd love to play the record from top to bottom."

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Song Stories

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Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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