Juice Newton & Exile At The Higley Performing Arts Center
Photos by Glenda S. Paradee
Juice Newton &
Exile performed at the Higley Performing Arts Center in Gilbert, Arizona on November 16,
2013. They both sang their biggest hits from throughout their long careers.
It was a great night with some great music!
More on Juice:
"I always see singing as a painting project," Juice Newton says. "It's
very visual for me "" the story of the song unfolds before my eyes while I
Now this Grammy, CMA and Billboard award-winning artist, who has multiple platinum and
gold albums, ten million records sold and 15 Top 10 hits under her belt, has a new set of
paintings to display "" only this time she's invited some legendary vocalists to
join her at the easel. The result is Duets: Friends & Memories (Fuel 2000), which
finds her stellar voice paired with those of Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Frankie Valli,
Randy Meisner, Melissa Manchester, Gary Morris and the late Dan Seals.
"I'd never done a duets project," Newton says of the record's origins.
"I called various people I knew and asked them: Are there songs you've thought about
recording? It could be your song or somebody else's. The point was to let them pick songs
they were interested in. I wanted it to be fun for them and take the pressure off. Though
the pressure was on me to learn the tunes!"
She took that pressure in stride, as she has throughout her career, but the challenges
were considerable: Working in multiple keys with singers known for wildly different
styles, all while endeavoring to create distinctive versions of beloved material like
"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (which she sings with Manchester), "Still
the One," "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" (both with Morris), "Up
Where We Belong," "Without You" (both with Campbell), "These
Dreams" (with Seals), "The Biggest Part of Me" (with Valli), "Take It
to the Limit" (with Meisner, the song's author) and two songs by and with Nelson,
"Funny How Time Slips Away" and "Touch Me."
"For me, it was like making three records," she says of the collection's
musical and logistical difficulty level. "These singers are so wonderful and unique
"" I really wanted to be on my game. I lived with my headphones on, studying the
songs and preparing my interpretations." By the time she entered the studio, however,
Newton was ready to wield her painter's brush like a master, as evidenced by the emotional
force of her vocal delivery "" whether she's punching the soaring high notes of
"Without You" withCampbell, trading the silken phrases of "Funny How Time
Slips Away" with Nelson, or putting an evocatively feminine spin on "Lovin'
Feelin'" with righteous sister Manchester.
Some of the memories evoked by the album's title are bittersweet, notably the passing
of Seals, who was best known as one half of the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley.
"That was so sad," she says of his departure. "He was really a cool singer,
and just a big presence in the room. He had a unique way of singing; he'd guide himself
with his hands, directing his mental target where he wanted to hit the note." The
project is also shadowed by the loss of Newton's longtime collaborator, Otha Young, in
2009. Her soulful work on the project is both a loving tribute to these and other fallen
comrades and a testament to her own resilient spirit.
Born in New Jersey and raised in Virginia, Judith Kay Newton first picked up the guitar
as an adolescent, inspired by the Byrds, Bob Dylan and folk artists like Tom Rush and Ian
& Sylvia. By age 13 she was performing professionally (for the extravagant sum of
$10), curving her small hand around the wide neck of her nylon-stringed axe and assaying
folk and country tunes with her already impressive voice . Before long she'd partnered
with some older teen musicians. "I'd written some songs but they weren't very
good," she recalls, "so I mostly focused on my singing." She would return
to songwriting later, though, with some powerful results.
She, Otha Young and Tom Kealey formed the country-leaning group Silver Spur; they were
signed and relocated to Los Angeles in short order, releasing their debut LP on RCA
Records in 1975. By the time they moved to Capitol Records a few years later it was as
Juice Newton and Silver Spur. In her capacity as a solo artist, she saw action on the
charts with songs like "It's a Heartache," "Let's Keep It That Way"
and "Sunshine," among others. Meanwhile, the Newton-Young composition
"Sweet, Sweet Smile" became a hit for pop icons the Carpenters in 1978.
But it was with 1981's Juice that the singer exploded into the mainstream, thanks to
the enormous hits "Angel of the Morning," "Queen of Hearts" and #1
country smash "The Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Known)." Delivering tearful,
wall-of-sound pop, sprightly country-rock and everything in between with crystalline tone
and infectious energy, Newton brought a sparkling authenticity to an era dominated by
artifice. Juice went platinum and became an international monster, "The Sweetest
Thing" spent 18 weeks in the Top 40, and Juice Newton earned two Grammy nominations
for Best Female Vocalist.
Her 1982 album, Quiet Lies, was certified gold within months and spawned the hits
"Love's Been a Little Bit Hard on Me" (which scored Newton another Best Pop
Female Vocalist Grammy nomination) and "Break It to Me Gently" (#1 AC, #2
Country, #11 Pop), which landed her a Grammy statuette for Best Female Country Vocal
Performance. Among the other nominees in that category: Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and
Rosanne Cash. The disc also featured "Heart of the Night" (#4 AC, #25 Pop). She
added a Country Music Award for Best New Female Artist, back-to-back Billboard Female
Album Artist of the Year honors and Australian Music Media's #1 International Country
Artist win to her trophy cabinet.
The next few years brought such hits as "Tell Her No," "Dirty
Looks," "Stranger at My Door," "A Little Love" and "Restless
Heart," among others, and afforded Newton the opportunity to explore her rock side.
But by 1985 she'd rededicated herself to the country-steeped sound that shaped her as an
artist. #1 hits like "You Make Me Want to Make You Mine," "Hurt,"
Young's "What Can I Do With My Heart" and "Both to Each Other (Friends and
Lovers)," a duet with Eddie Rabbitt, aided her dominance of the format. She rounded
out the decade with charting singles "Tell Me True," "First Time
Caller" and "When Love Comes Around the Bend."
But the business was changing, and she spent much of the '90s on hiatus from music,
raising her kids in San Diego, though she toured occasionally. Still, she contributed to
an all-star tribute to French chanteuse Edith Piaf and released the albums The Trouble
With Angels and American Girl, the latter featuring songs by Newton, Young, Tom Petty and
The first years of the 21st Century saw the release of Every Road Leads Back to You and
American Girl Vol. II, and Newton demonstrated her continued ability to shine in a new pop
landscape by appearing on the 2005 TV special Hit Me Baby One More Time and being voted a
In 2007 she issued The Gift of Christmas, which she subsequently augmented with several
new tracks, including new collaborations with Andre Mayeux, the keyboardist in her band,
the Regenr8rs. The holiday collection also boasts a special version of Otha Young's
"For Believers," which Newton had first recorded in 1983; sadly, her 37-year
collaboration with the songwriter and musician came to end when he died of lymphoma in
With Duets: Friends & Memories, Juice Newton not only honors that extraordinary
musical partnership "" and the many great memories her career has spawned
"" but shows why she remains one of contemporary pop's singular treasures. And
as she prepared to hit the road in support of Duets and began writing a new batch of
songs, her fans prepared for some thrilling new brushstrokes.
Juice Newton's website: http://juicenewtonfanclub.com/
Exile's website: http://www.exile.biz/
Thanks For The Music Juice & Exile