Known and loved by many as the enchanting front-woman for LA's Rilo Kiley, Jenny's vocal and songwriting gifts have continued to blossom at a rapid rate since that band's first album in 2000. Jenny's hauntingly soulful voice, sometimes bursting with buoyant spirit and at other times plaintive and world wearied, is deep, sensual and beguiling. Intricate storytelling and evocative lyrics infuse these songs with a captivating vibrancy but may be knocked sideways by the musical alchemy at play as a result of folk, country, and Southern gospel influences. Team Love. 2006.
Channeling the evocative storytelling of Laura Nyro and the soulful sexiness of Dusty Springfield, singer/songwriter Jenny Lewis skips all contemporary studio gimmickry to proffer a near-perfect solo debut. The front-woman for indie darlings Rilo Kiley breaks away from the songwriting democracy she shares with that band's co-leader Blake Sennett (also of the Elected), drawing inspiration from the crackling vinyl albums of her youth. And from the opening notes of "Run Devil Run," an acapella gospel hymn sung with the Watson Twins, through the note-for-note cover of the Traveling Wilbury's "Handle With Care" (with Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard), Lewis verifies this is her record. Her goose-bump voice can be as mournful as it is optimistic, but remains perpetually mesmerizing on Rabbit Fur Coat's best songs: the god-fearing country-rocker "The Charging Sky," the radio-poppy "You Are What You Love" and, especially, the title track, a haunting, solo-guitar waltz of poor meets rich. --Scott Holter