Jewel's next album will likely include "dangerous-sounding" tracks, with blues-rock, bossa nova and loop-driven hard pop creeping into recent recording sessions, according to those involved with the disc.
The still-untitled album is due November 13, according to Jewel's label, Atlantic Records.
The singer/songwriter has penned several tracks with "Smooth" co-writer Itaal Shur and recently began recording the follow-up to her 1999 Christmas standards album, Joy: A Holiday Celebration, with producers John Kurzweg (Creed) and Dann Huff (Faith Hill, Megadeth).
Kurzweg said he's recorded only one track, called "Jesus Loves You." His plans to produce Creed's next album (see "Creed Taking Things Higher On Third Album") may prevent him from working on other songs with her, he said.
But Kurzweg said last week that based on the 17 demos Jewel played for him, Ms. Kilcher's new music may stun those who know her from "Who Will Save Your Soul," off 1995's Pieces of You, or "Hands," off 1998's Spirit.
"It was really cool stuff," Kurzweg said. "Some of the stuff is very similar [to Jewel's past work], and then some of it is kind of edgier and a little more loop-based. What attracted me to the songs we were interested in working on together it was more dangerous-sounding than I expected it to be, or edgier."
Kurzweg brought in A Perfect Circle drummer Josh Freese for "Jesus Loves You" to re-create the percussion-heavy sound he heard in the song's demo.
Shur, meanwhile, said he's co-written several tracks with Jewel, including "Serve the Ego" and "Shadows Play," both of which she's already played live. "Serve the Ego" boasts Indian-flavored backing, a minor-key melody and the cynical refrain "Get on your hands and knees/ And praise the new deity/ Serve the ego" a long way from critically derided Spirit tracks like "What's Simple Is True."
"Shadows Play," meanwhile, has a Brazilian feel; Shur described it as a "bossa nova chill-out song."
Jane's Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins said in June that he'd recorded one song with Jewel. The track, which he didn't name, is not a major departure for her, he said.
According to an e-mail sent to fans by her management, Jewel has also recorded her blues-rock live staple "Love Me Just Leave Me Alone," which in concert has blatantly evoked Bob Dylan circa Highway 61 Revisited.
In the e-mail to fans, Jewel's management cautioned that she is writing and recording many songs for the album and that it is not yet clear which tracks she will decide to include.
Jewel has several isolated live dates lined up this summer, including a July 19 appearance in New York's Central Park (see "Jewel, Willa Ford To Perform With Contest Finalists").