This is Jenny Lewis’s moment. After spending much of 2021 gaining a new audience by opening for Harry Styles all over America, she released her fourth solo album, Joy’all, in June to universal acclaim. Her tour behind the album brought her to DC for two gigs in two days, at The Atlantis on Friday and then The Anthem on Saturday.
A recent transplant to Nashville, Lewis and her band were decked out in western-themed outfits and cowgirl boots, a fitting accompaniment to the Americana-tinged Joy’all. Lead single “Puppy and a Truck” is a good reminder of what country music can be and follow-up single “Psychos” has a decided Fleetwood Mac vibe and makes surprisingly great use of the lyric “This shit is crazy town.” Both sounded superb. Her band, drummer Meg Coleman, bassist Ryan Madora, keyboardist Jess Nolan, and guitarist Nicole Lawrence, really brought the vibes on the album’s title track during Jenny’s performance at The Anthem on July 22.
Watch the official music video for “Psychos” by Jenny Lewis on YouTube:
Lewis has been around long enough now to fill out her sets with plenty of well-known songs from her previous albums. She played four songs each from On The Line and The Voyager, including “Late Bloomer,” a personal fave. Late in the set Lewis played a cover of the 2005 Girls song, “Lust For Life,” a mid-aughts blog-era tune I liked at the time but had honestly forgotten about.
Her dog, Bobby Rhubarb, adorned the front of Coleman’s bass drum and also the large balloons that fell into the crowd during “Cherry Baby,” while also providing the night’s comic relief. Lewis had a landline phone stationed near her mic stand and late in the set got “a call” from Rhubarb, supposedly backstage, who wanted to tell a joke.
Why is it always hot at Grateful Dead concerts?
Their fans don’t work.
Yeah, it was that kind of night. Great songs and immaculate vibes. It’s easy to root for Lewis. She seems genuine, has put in the work and earned her success. Long may she continue.
I did not make it to the venue in time to see Hayden Pedigo, but did arrive just after Cass McCombs started his set. He smartly brought out Lewis to duet on “Dreams-Come-True-Girl” (the recorded version featured Karen Black) but also played a great set full of tunes that had me searching setlist.fm for song names so I could listen back to them later and dive into his work.
Jenny Lewis setlist:
Just One of the Guys
Do Si Do
She’s Not Me
Red Bull & Hennessy
Heads Gonna Roll
Apples and Oranges
Little White Dove
Puppy and a Truck
Lust for Life (Girls cover)
Silver Lining (With Hayden Pedigo)
The Next Messiah
Here are some photos of Jenny Lewis performing at The Anthem on July 23, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Kyle Gustafson.