Thursday, March 03, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Jenny Lewis

For those of you who don't like that short of thing, there are lots of videos coming up.  Overkill, maybe, but the music is excellent.

Jenny Lewis is one of my favorites for a lot of reasons.  I like her songwriting a lot.  It's biting at times, but it always has a sense of humor at the same time.  It's also never too cloying or self-aware.  She stands at the intersection of contemporary folk and alt-country as a solo artist and manages to pull the best of both worlds together.  (And, I'm a total sucker for a female singer-songwriter with a strummy acoustic guitar thing going.)  But she can totally change gears with the band Rilo Kiley and do some of the best indy pop around.  It's like a total package thing or something, one I can listen to again and again.  Check out these examples.

First, with the Watson Twins, who are damn fine songwriters and performers in their own right.  They're alos from Louisville.  They were featured on her first solo album.

"You are what you love"

"Run Devil Run/Big Guns"

I love the way the opening tune here evokes more traditional, almost spiritual singing.

Now, on her own:

"Black Sand"

You see more of her pop-ish side on this haunting tune.  

Next with Johnathan Rice (who's quite a cutie):


Not sure what the puppet is all about here, but I love this song.

And finally, with Rilo Kiley, a totally awesome group of musicians.

"Portions for Foxes"

Probably a predictable choice to include here, but it's an awesome song and an indy-pop classic, at least in my mind.  She trades in that acoustic guitar for a more souped up model.  I'll have this one stuck in my head all day now.  That's not a bad thing.

"Breakin' Up"

Gotta love the post-break up dance in this vid!

And, finally, back to Johnathan Rice for their take on a true classic.  I don't care who else has done this one, this is how it was meant to be done--a simple, heartfelt duet.

I like that their version evokes the original without copying it.  It's a nice homage to the trail-blazing duo who probably in part made it possible for a musical chameleon like Jenny Lewis to have a shot in the music business today.  And if you don't know who that duo is, you've not been around this blog for long.  I'll put a hint in the labels for you, if you'll promise to check both  them and Jenny Lewis out.  Okay?

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