Monday, December 25, 2006

Jewel - Joy: A Holiday Collection (1999)

What a surprise! Joy: A Holiday Collection is superior to all of Jewel's other releases because the singer-songwriter shows what she can do with really good songs that demonstrate her flair as a talented interpretive singer.

Jewel has always demonstrated a wide range in her vocal abilities, singing the low parts as well as she can sing the high ones. Her voice lacks power but her several octave range more than compensates. Nothing proves this more than her treatment of "O Holy Night," a very difficult song to master and the highlight of this CD. Another gem is the rarely recorded "Go Tell It On The Mountain."

The album sags toward the end as Jewel tacks a couple of her own non-Christmas songs on to the disc, although lyrically they seem marginally appropriate within the context of the rest of the album. Why she includes her hit song "Hands" in this collection is a mystery. The Christmas version of "Hands" is only made to seem like a holiday song by the addition of seasonal bells placed throughout the arrangement. Am I quibbling? Maybe, but this album is still worth checking out.

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