Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and New York Times’ bestselling author, Jewel, has returned this holiday season for a second run of her well received Handmade Holiday Tour. The shows see Jewel joined by family members, including Father Atz, and brothers Atz Lee and Nikos Kilcher, performing a mixture of traditional and original holiday-themed songs, some classic Jewel songs from her vast catalog, and even a few new numbers. While the previous tour included a workshop of creating items prior to the shows, this year Jewel will be offering a pre-show market of handmade gifts including items from her Songlines jewelry line, as well as bracelets made by her Dad, and even some items from her seven-year-old son, Kase. The unique run of shows kicked off in late November, and we managed to join a packed house at the Carolina Theatre in Durham NC this past Monday as the tour was in the homestretch before Christmas.
With plenty to see and do prior to showtime, the Carolina Theatre began to fill up early with eager fans. The evening’s on-stage festivities kicked off with the trio of Kilcher men. With the stage decorated by a number of Christmas trees and a fireplace lined with Kilcher family stockings, Father Atz, and brothers Atz Lee and Nikos came out and entertained the crowd for a few numbers. The brothers flanked their father at the center of the stage armed only with acoustic guitars, as they proceeded to tell stories and take turns providing lead vocals. The trio was engaging and they utterly charmed the full house, providing a solid lead-in to Jewel’s performance.
As the Kilcher men left the stage, the lights dropped and a single spotlight illuminated the silhouette of Jewel standing alone at the front of the stage. She started off with her haunting yet beautiful acapella version of “Over the Rainbow,” from 2016’s Lullaby album, immediately followed by a string of holiday tunes backed by a five-piece band including, “The Christmas Song,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “O Holy Night.” After putting everyone in the holiday spirit, Jewel shifted gears and played the fan favorite song “Hands,” and a recently written new song before the band left the stage leaving Jewel alone with her acoustic guitar. She proceeded to tell stories, take audience requests, and play a number of solo acoustic songs including a fun version of “I’m Sensitive,” and a soulful “Intuition.”
As the band returned to the stage, the evening circled back to the family connection. Atz came out to share some stories and join Jewel for “Homestead Yodeling Christmas” backed by some Kilcher home movies on the video screen at the back of the stage. Jewel kept the focus on growing up in Alaska and her relationship with her father as she played “My Father’s Daughter” backed by more home movies while Atz watched on proudly. The family participation continued with brothers Atz Lee and Nikos coming out to join, and almost upstage, Jewel on a hilarious rendition of “Who Will Save Your Soul” with Atz Lee and Nikos trading off on most of the vocals as Jewel backed them between laughs.
The evening closed out on a spirited and joyous high-note with “White Christmas,” followed by Jewel joined by the Kilcher men for a rousing “Let It Snow” complete with a virtual snow storm floating down over the stage that brought the crowd to their feet. In a time when people connect virtually over social media, and kindness seems to have become a lost art, Jewel reminded everyone that family and human connection means more than ever.
Jewel’s Handmade Holiday Tour @ The Carolina Theatre