Beneath the shadows cast by a consummate singer-songwriter lies their body of work. Between the folds and scattered sheet music lies a hidden gem that outlasts the rest. It outshines those plastic figurines that make up the “vibrant” culture of modern expression. But enough with the philosophical mumbo-jumbo; there's a point to be made here, people. Jenny Lewis—who many first encountered as indie rock band Rilo Kiley's frontwoman or from her first film role in Troop Beverly Hills—is headed to the Duke City on Monday, Dec. 8.
The multifaceted singer-songwriter is touring in support of her latest solo LP The Voyager. If you haven't yet heard it, it's worth checking out. It might even inspire you to go online, purchase a ticket and headbang to her tunes in person. Scratch that: It's not really headbanging music. But if stretching your neck is your thing, then by all means, shake that noggin.
The thing about Lewis is she seems to have reached a stage in her career where she's actually comfortable being who she is. Recent interviews have outlined that the album came about as a result of insomnia, dealing with her father's death and figuring out the balance of life imitating art, art imitating life or just being an artist. If her multi-colored, flashy suits haven't tipped you off, this album is definitely her breeziest effort. So the live show you might have seen post-Acid Tongue isn't the same show you'll see at the Kiva. And if my experiences seeing Ms. Lewis live prove anything, it's that this is a woman who knows how to put on a show.
It should also be noted that Lewis is the opening act for Ryan Adams, who produced the majority of her latest record. (Beck took the reins on lead single “Just One of the Guys.”) And what would a Jenny Lewis album be without a contemplative ballad to send the listener into a frenzy of pondering—the kind that makes people question the world around them. That's where “The Voyager” comes in. Folks who dig her earlier recordings—not the Rilo Kiley stuff, we've moved beyond that “okay” band—may find something to love in this song, if not the entire record.
Her latest effort is the sort of easy listening rock that only Lewis could get away with in this day and age. It brings to mind Tapestry-era Carole King or Fleetwood Mac. And that's not a bad thing. Lewis has stated in several interviews that she didn't want to make a rock record while in Rilo Kiley. Hence the spare country intonations of Rabbit Fur Coat and the gritty singer-songwriter manifestos of Acid Tongue. If you wanna see Lewis at her rockingest (is that a word?), her gig at the Kiva is probably your best post-Rilo Kiley chance. Darn! I brought them up again. Either way it will be one lovely, rainbow-colored shindig and a great opportunity to see two especially talented musicians leave their tracks on the Land of Enchantment.