While Jenny Lewis’ new album “The Voyager” was born out of many tales of woe (gnarly bouts of insomnia, the death of her father, and the end of her band Rilo Kiley), she has never looked more comfortable or happier on stage than how she did at Apogee Studio for a live KCRW session taped last night.
In her slick black pantsuit, rockin’ a rainbow guitar, she owned every inch of the stage but, more importantly, seemed to be having a blast. Her voice is so good, she makes singing look effortlessly easy, though we all know it’s not.
Jenny’s energy is infectious and she has a dedicated following, many who loved her as the frontwoman for Rilo Kiley.
Though she worked tracks off their last real studio album into her set (“Silver Lining” and “Moneymaker”), the new songs sounded the best. They’re the most personal and therefore the most compelling, particularly “Just One of the Guys” and “Slippery Slopes”.
With this third solo album, she has finally transcended the band and the audience is with her all the way.
Host Gary Calamar asked what she did during her six year break between records and she joked that she “did some acupuncture in the valley” before describing the place she now calls home in Laurel Canyon where she “communes with nature from the inside looking out.”
As far as songwriting goes, she has an easy going philosophy: “It’s a great day when you sit down and write a song, even if it’s shit.”
When asked how she found a producer to bring this album to life, Jenny said she “prayed for a spirit guide in a nondenominational way and it appeared in the form of Ryan Adams”. She says the prolific artist helped get her out of her own head while they recorded at his Pax Am studios.
During the second set, they played the epic, two-part jam “Next Messiah”, but it was the final encore of “Acid Tongue” (both from her second solo album) that was particularly stunning.
In fact, it was the best ending of any Apogee Session I can remember.
Jenny was on acoustic guitar singing with all five members of her band huddled around another mic providing gorgeous backing vocals. Simple. And so beautiful it gave me chills.
Her ability to float from barn burner to balladry to catchy pop ditty so seamlessly within a few songs that is so very impressive. She excels at it all.
A few people commented that she sounded even better live than on the album and I have to agree.
A big thank you to Bob Clearmountain for engineering the session, which you can hear live on KCRW during Morning Becomes Eclectic on Monday, November 3!
KCRW’s Apogee Sessions featuring Jenny Lewis Set List
JUST ONE OF THE GUYS*
SHE’S NOT ME*
*Songs from the new album “The Voyager”
Jenny Lewis- Vocals, keys, guitar
Joshua Adams- Drums
Macey Taylor- bass
Micael Bloom- Guitar, vocals
Natalie Prass- Keys, vocals
Megan McCormick- Guitar, vocals
ALL PHOTOS BY JEREMIAH GARCIA