If you met Jenny Lewis at a gig at your favorite downtown nightclub, you would probably mistake her for that inexorably cute, inexhaustibly cool chick who works at the local record store. You know, the one in every town that turns yesteryear thrift-store get-ups into sartorially brilliant "outfits"--comfortable, unique, inviting--or the one who knows every Johnny Cash Sun Session off the top of her head.
But, as it turns out, that saucy little redhead down at the record shop isn't Jenny Lewis. But she can probably name every project that Lewis--a 27-year-old redhead who barely breaks five feet--has ever worked on.
"Rilo Kiley, The Postal Service and Cursive," she'd say with a grin.
Lewis herself is quickly turning into one of indie rock's most promising stars. With a gripping voice--perfectly wavering between conviction and innocence and moving at once with the earnestness of Garrison Starr, the audacity of Patti Smith and the clarity of Carol van Dijk--Lewis deftly handles her own songs about sex, life, love and things most often left unspoken. And she keeps that voice busy.
Just days off of a European tour that followed a sold-out, stateside club run alongside Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard and Dntel mastermind Justin Tamborello as the sucrose-flavored electronic pop trio The Postal Service, Lewis hit the road with her main act, the pop-rockster quartet, Rilo Kiley. When the tour--a sort of farewell to most of the tracks off of the band's 2002 Saddle Creek effort, the winningly mature and surprisingly cohesive Execution of All Things--is over, she'll head to the studio in November with Kiley to record their third album, most of which they have somehow managed to write during their "free time." And, if she's got the energy to get out of bed, Lewis will head back to the road in January with The Postal Service for a second tour.
"This is what I've fantasized about forever ... being able to tour and play shows and keep making records with my friends," Lewis told Independent Weekly on her way to a stop in Salt Lake City two weeks ago, her cell phone popping in and out of the conversation. "These past few years have really been the best of my life."
Yeah, she's cool.