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News: Jewel Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of Sophomore Album ‘Spirit’

5 min read

Today, singer-songwriter and mental health pioneer, Jewel, celebrates the 25th anniversary of her multi-platinum sophomore album, Spirit, with expanded and remastered reissues of the 1998 release, via Craft Recordings. Arriving November 17th on 2-CD and digital platforms, the deluxe album features the GRAMMY®-nominated singer-songwriter’s Top 10 US hit “Hands,” fan favorites “Down So Long” and “Jupiter (Swallow the Moon),” plus 23 bonus tracks, including eight previously unreleased demos and outtakes, rare live performances from the era, alternate takes, remixes and much more. Additionally, the original 13-track album will be reissued as a 2-LP set, marking Spirit’s first availability on vinyl since 1998. In addition to the black pressing, the 2-LP set will also be available on blue swirl vinyl exclusively via Jewel’s store.

All editions of Spirit are available for pre-order today, while fans can stream the never-before-heard “Hands (Studio Outtake)” here.

In the mid-late ’90s, singer-songwriter Jewel captured the hearts and souls of a generation with her engaging vocals, folk-pop melodies and introspective lyrics. Raised in Homer, AK, the mononymous artist (born Jewel Kilcher) moved to San Diego to pursue her musical dreams. Living out of her van as she struggled to make ends meet, Jewel built a loyal following in local coffee shops and clubs and soon attracted the attention of industry tastemakers, including legendary songsmiths like Bob Dylan (who brought the young artist on tour as a supporting act) and Neil Young, as well as execs at Atlantic Records, who released her debut, Pieces of You, in 1995. Over the next two years, the album—which featured such era-defining hits as “Who Will Save Your Soul,” “Foolish Games” and “You Were Meant For Me”—gained momentum, eventually selling over 12 million copies and becoming one of the highest-selling debuts of all time.

Jewel began recording her eagerly anticipated follow-up in 1998 (a year which found the artist performing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXXII and publishing a New York Times bestselling book of poetry, among other accomplishments). Expectations were high as the artist entered the studio with producer Patrick Leonard (known best for his extensive credits with Madonna, as well as projects with Carly Simon, Pink Floyd and Bryan Ferry, among many others). Jewel certainly did not disappoint, as she served up an inviting collection of reflective, vivid songs that were far beyond her 24 years.

Setting the tone for the album is opener “Deep Water,” which offers a hopeful message that love conquers all, even when life gets tough. Similarly, lead single “Hands” is based upon a desperate moment in the artist’s youth when she considered shoplifting. Instead, she decided to put her hands to better use and start writing songs. The uplifting song speaks to the power of seemingly small decisions. “Life Uncommon,” meanwhile, reminds listeners to be brave and stand up to the forces that tie them down. Spirit also features several love songs, including the playful “Jupiter” and the sweet “What’s Simple Is True.” Other highlights include the single “Down So Long,” written when the artist was just 18, as well as the haunting “Barcelona,” which features the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea on bass guitar.

Upon its release in November 1998, Spirit was an instant bestseller, debuting at No.3 in the US, where it was certified 4x Platinum. The album also peaked at No.2 in Canada and No.5 in Australia. The hit single “Hands,” landed at No.6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Canadian pop charts.

The album was also acclaimed by critics, including Rolling Stone, which declared Spirit “musical comfort food.” Entertainment Weekly praised, “The way Jewel’s voice dips from a mountain-stream soprano to a vulnerable lower octave in the chorus demonstrates what a stronger, more confident singer she’s become,” while Music Week hailed “Hands” as “a delicious, softly-sung number, showcasing this talented Alaskan’s songwriting skills.”

25 years later, this special reissue of Spirit offers a deeper look into Jewel’s creative process through a trove of bonus material. Among the eight previously unreleased tracks are demos for “Last Dance Rodeo” (which later appeared on 2006’s Goodbye Alice in Wonderland), “Gloria” (off 1999’s Joy) and “The Sue Lee Song”; outtakes and alternate versions of “Hands,” “Songs of Freedom” and “Jupiter”; plus live recordings like “Down So Long,” captured at Woodstock ’99. The album’s expanded content also offers highlights from a 1999 concert at Spain’s Colegio Oficial de Medicos de Madrid, plus rare live performances of Pieces of You B-sides, including “You Were Meant for Me” and “Who Will Save Your Soul” (both culled from the Dutch program 2 Meter Sessions in 1996).

Speaking to the 25th anniversary of Spirit, Jewel says: “My sophomore album, Spirit, is 25! I still cherish this album and sing many of these songs during my shows, so I’m glad my fans can pick up new copies and hear some unreleased tracks, outtakes, and live recordings. I also get to share this with my son now – it’s incredibly special to tell him stories about what was happening in my life and the world during this time. Whether you heard Spirit back then or are just discovering it now, I appreciate you listening.”

In the years since releasing Spirit, Jewel has continued to inspire through her music, words and voice. During her nearly three-decade-long career, she has released 13 studio albums (six of which were in the Billboard 200 Top 10), published five books (including her 2015 New York Times best-selling memoir, Never Broken – Songs Are Only Half the Story), and earned 26 nominations for such awards as the GRAMMYs, American Music Awards, MTV Awards, VH1 Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and Country Music Awards, winning eight times. Jewel has also dedicated herself to pioneering change in the mental health space, offering mental health tools and resources to those who need it through her Inspiring Children Foundation and Inner.world, a new virtual mental health platform.

In 2021, Jewel captured the ears of a new generation when she won the sixth season of Fox’s hit competition TV series, The Masked Singer. Later that year, she appeared on The Masked Singer Christmas Singalong, where she performed “Hands” with her then-10-year-old son, Kase. Most recently, Jewel released Freewheelin’ Woman—her first studio album in seven years. Produced with Butch Walker, the 2022 LP earned acclaim from the likes of American Songwriter, Spin and AllMusic.

Click here to pre-order Spirit (25th Anniversary Edition).