By James Calemine
Founding member of Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis was a child actress and continued acting until 2001. Then Lewis began recording with the Watson Twins. She also began collaborating with Jonathan Rice who was an integral part of the Laurel Canyon music scene. Lewis has also recorded with Jonathan Wilson, Gary Louris and The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson.
Lewis’ CD, Acid Tongue, serves as a fine indication of her vocal talents and her ability to construct strong songs. Her love for female vocalists such as Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton are evident in her vocal phrasing.
“Black Sand” opens the CD with Lewis’ beautiful voice attracting one’s immediate attention. The piano driven tune accompanied by her golden voice evokes emotion right from the start. “Pretty Bird” captures the listener’s ear with her lyrics phrased around the soft beat like some musical narrative. “The Next Messiah” contains gritty guitar licks from North Carolina wizard Jonathan Wilson and backup singing from Chris Robinson.
“Bad Man’s World” conjures up a sparse R&B ditty laced with violins. Chris Robinson lends his soulful voice on the title track. Her lyrics paint vivid wordgrams and images in a subdued musical landscape. “See Fernando” transmits an upbeat, guitar-driven track that provides a musical balance on this disc verifying Lewis has the ability to write foot-stomping songs.
“Godspeed” provides a very strong female perspective, which indicates why Lewis is a favorite among the female folk. Elvis Costello lends his talent on the alt-country track “Carpetbaggers” which serves as one of the album’s strongest tracks. “Trying My Best To Love You” ranks Lewis as one of the most talented female singer/songwriters playing music today. Her voice never fails to amaze…
“Jack Killed Mom” stands as another sandburn song with a story behind the electric guitar. New West artist and former Jonathan Wilson bandmate Benji Hughes provides spoken word to this song. “Sing A Song For Them” finds Lewis playing piano and singing a sweet love song. The final track, “Pelican Bay” serves as a stripped down song including only Lewis singing, Jonathan Wilson on bass, Barbaka Gruska on drums and Jonathan Rice on whistle that proves Lewis does not need much fluff to get her songs across.
Jenny Lewis epitomizes the multi-talented female artist today. She’s one of a kind…