Friday, January 30, 2015

What a Voyage- Jenny Lewis

A lot of us have grown up watching Jenny Lewis and maybe we didn’t even know it. We tend to think of her with her music career both solo and with Rilo Kiley. She has had quite the career already in music, film, television, and commercials. We will explore some of her voyage up to this point.

Jenny was born in Las Vegas and made her debut as a child actress in a Jell-O commercial. From there she went into television working with Lucille Ball in a sitcom in the late 1980’s. Then onto other television roles and as a teenager was in demand in films. Her most noteable box office success was in Troop Beverly Hills in 1989. At some point in the early 90’s she met another child actor, Blake Sennett and they officially formed Rilo Kiley in 1998 out of Los Angeles. They produced a sound that I would call indie country pop. The signature was Jenny’s beautiful voice and vocal inflections. Rilo Kiley was signed to Barsuk Records in 2001 and they released their first album. They then signed to Saddle Creek Records and released The Execution of All Things in 2002. This is the album I discovered the band. Poignant and personal songs with some great musical stylings and rhythms sold me. In 2004 they released More Adventurous which was distributed by Warner Brothers who would then sign the band to their own label. This album made a lot of inroads and gave them a lot of recognition. At this point after a successful tour the band needed some time away from each other and Jenny toured with The Postal Service to great acclaim. The band got back together and released their last album in 2007, Under the Blacklight. At this point here was a lot of tension in the band and they knew they were all heading in different directions.

Jenny sensing the inevitable went and put out her first solo album in 2006 titled Rabbit Fur Coat using the Watson Twins as her backup singers. This album received a lot of critical acclaim and gave Jenny the confidence that she could do it as a solo act. I was fortunate to see this tour and was really thrilled to see Jenny doing it on her own. In 2008 she then released Acid Tongue totally on her own. She met and has been dating Jonathan Rice and they put out an album in 2010 as Jenny and Johnny. Jenny just released, in July of last year, her first solo album in 5 years titled The Voyager. It shows her journey in personal songs dealing with the breakup of Rilo Kiley and the death of her father. The album is filled with moving and emotional songwriting. It shows her growth as a songwriter in a real positive way. Enjoy this song from the new album “Just One of the Guys”

I hope you enjoy this video that features a look at sexism and fitting into today’s world. If you enjoyed this video I really encourage you to explore some of her earlier work with Rilo Kiley. Despite that Rilo Kiley has been broken up for a few years, I think that their style still sounds fresh today. It is wonderful to see her voyage from child star to incredible musician.

Update: Every now and then Larry and I will update new things about bands we have already written about. I want to give you some Damnwells news. First of all, the new album with all of the original members, will officially be released on April 14. I for one can't wait. In the meantime to tide you over, Alex Dezen produced a series of 4 solo EP's last year. The final one was just produced and I have purchased all of them. The music is stunning and I highly recommend purchasing them. The images and stories are personal and brilliant. Just click on the link to his name and enjoy!!

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