By Chuck Arnold Christina Tapper
June 09, 2008 12:00 PM

Perfectly Clear |


These days everyone from Bon Jovi and the Eagles to Jessica Simpson and Snoop Dogg (!) seems to want a piece of the country market. After her last CD, 2006’s Goodbye Alice in Wonderland, failed to take off, Jewel has become another Nashville interloper. But for the neo-folkie, venturing into country territory comes just as easily as hopping over the barnyard fence. It’s certainly a lot more natural of a transition than when she attempted a dance-pop makeover on 2003’s 0304. Without affecting too much of a twang in her voice, she gets the phrasing—and the feeling—just right on tunes like the lilting “Loved by You (Cowboy Waltz),” while spinning a classic country conceit on the ballad standout, “Till It Feels Like Cheating.” And on “Two Become One,” Jewel evokes something really sweet: early Olivia Newton-John.