By Richard Provost
Wish Granted Records’ Belle Jewel recently released her own original music for the first time. It’s a small, two song EP entitled As It Is. If there is one thing that we can say about Belle, it’s that you won’t find anyone else like her. Both as a person and as a musician, Belle has no hesitation about standing on her own two feet and unapologetically being her unique self. Belle recently relocated to New York City to pursue music on the east coast. We wish her the best of luck, but after hearing this EP, I don’t think she’s going to need it. It’s great stuff.
As It Is opens with a sound clip of someone saying, “Yeah, French is hip right now.” I didn’t want to agree with that statement, but if I didn’t believe it then, I do now. This track is accented by a classic 5-1 pattern in the bass and acoustic guitar strums on the upbeat. Producer Ron Saltmarsh has done an excellent job at crafting a wonderful arrangement that sounds both classical and modern. Belle’s vocal performance toes the line between nonchalant and defiant. Maybe the most heartless and brash line of the song is, “Tell me now what you will before this love has lost its thrill.” But Belle delivers it so matter of factly that you’re drawn to her confidence, despite the brutality of the concept. This track is the kind of song you’ll want to show your friends because you know they haven’t heard anything like it yet.
Her second track, “Salt” is my favorite of the two. It opens like “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones, and faintly reminds me of “Death of a Bachelor” by Panic! at the Disco. This is probably because of the juxtaposition of a classic crooning style melody and a modern sounding track. The track is very interesting. There is an obvious old school feel due to the vocal performance and the waltzy 50’s 6/8 time piano, but then there’s a booming kick drum that feels too modern for the piece. I loved how on this track Bell wraps you up in her sultry voice, gets you comfortable, and then hits you with the kicker. Right at 2:21, when you’re finally settling into the song, there is a muted trumpet solo – you know, because guitar solos are way too mainstream. It’s fantastic. Muted trumpet is one of those sounds that just feels right, especially on “Salt.” Perfect instrumentation choice.
This is a great release. My only true criticism is that the EP is only two songs long. I level this criticism only because I want more. I love artists like Belle Jewel because they do a fantastic job of pushing their boundaries as musicians while still relating to the listener’s taste. We will miss having her in Provo, but she will undoubtedly make waves in The Big Apple. We’re just grateful she left Provo with music we can be proud of.
Make sure to like Belle Jewel on Facebook and follow her on Instagram (@bellejewelmusic). As It Is can be purchased on iTunes here. Keep an eye out for the upcoming release of her “Salt” music video, which was shot on location in Italy. You can stream her EP from Spotify below.