Jenny Lewis Talks Six-Year Break, Working with Ryan Adams and Beck on 'The Voyager'

Jenny Lewis Talks Six-Year Break, Working with Ryan Adams and Beck on 'The Voyager'
Jenny Lewis has had a busy six years. Between teaming up with boyfriend Jonathan Rice for an album, scoring not one but two films, joining the Postal Service on their reunion tour and breaking up her band Rilo Kiley, it's easy to forgive her for not releasing an album since 2008's Acid Tongue. But that doesn't mean she wasn't trying to.

"I never intended to take a long break," Lewis tells Exclaim!. "I just couldn't finish it. So I was trying to finish my record for six years and I finally did. It just took a really long time."

On July 29, Lewis releases her third solo album, The Voyager. Captured at a difficult time spent in between the death of her father and the end of Rilo Kiley, Lewis sought the talent of Ryan Adams to help co-produce the album.

"I was a huge fan of Heartbreaker, but I didn't discover that record until just recently," she says. "I don't know how I missed it, but I did somehow. But I heard he was building an analogue studio in Los Angeles and I just had a feeling about him. And it worked out great. He's an amazing producer. It was a really quick process, but he's really inspired in the studio. And he's a killer guitar player."

While all but three tracks were produced by Adams with Mike Viola, Beck added some additional production, as well as Jonathan Rice. Lewis says Beck and Adams couldn't be any more different from one another.

"I spent a lot more time with Ryan, but I knew Beck a little bit more going into it," she explains. "So I felt more comfortable with Beck right away. Working with Beck was very calm and focused. Working with Ryan was the exact opposite of that. It was confusing at times and I went through a range of emotions."

The release of The Voyager is still a ways off, but fans in Toronto and Ottawa will get an early sneak peek when she plays the Toronto Urban Roots Festival and the Ottawa Bluesfest on July 6 and 8, respectively. In the meantime, Lewis says the album has the same spirit as its predecessor.

"Acid Tongue was recorded to tape. It was almost a completely live record. So the spirit of that is within The Voyager as well," she admits. "It's about musicians making music together in a room, for the most part. But I think The Voyager is a little more rockin'. I didn't have any rules or ideas going into it. I let myself be produced for the first time."

Read our recent Questionnaire with Lewis here.