Listen to Jenny Lewis's Bright-Eyed New Album 'Joy'All'

The follow-up to 2019's 'On the Line' is here

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Jun 9, 2023

For Jenny Lewis's fifth solo album, fittingly titled Joy'All, the songwriter learned to bask in the journey — with a little help from her dog and her friends. 

"The joy is in the process of getting it done. It's not … the finished product. It's like the whole process of me being a musician for 20 years. It starts with Rilo Kiley, I'm 17 years old, and it continues today, 2023," she said recently in an interview with Exclaim! 

The first Joy'All song to materialize was "Puppy and a Truck," written during a 2021 songwriting workshop led by Beck, which found artists writing a song a day from a prompt provided by Beck and sending each other the results over SoundCloud.

The rest of the record's 10 tracks follow that song's playful, lived-in lead — Joy'All is easily Lewis's warmest and most relaxed collection of songs, riding a glimmering dust cloud of country twang and organic pop rock. 

The album's recording took an equally serendipitous route, as collaborators fell into place like pieces of a puzzle. Recorded with Dave Cobb (who's worked with the likes of John Prine, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell) and his house band of Nate Smith, Brian Allen and Cobb on guitar, Joy'All was captured live on the floor in just a few weeks, before Greg Leisz and Jon Brion added pedal steel, B-Bender guitar and Chamberlin back in Los Angeles. 

The album sounds like contentedness but never complacency, as Lewis approaches the hills and valleys of her life with a newfound candour and clear-eyed wisdom. It's a record shaped by serendipity and universal intervention — just look to the cover for further proof. 

While shopping at Black Shag Vintage in Nashville, Lewis's frequent collaborator Bobbi Rich discovered an outfit that once belonged to Nashville songwriter Skeeter Davis, whose influence burns bright across Joy'All's whip-smart, deeply felt country. The ensemble became an essential piece of the record's visual world: "I wanted to riff on the classic Nashville album cover, with the song titles on the front," Lewis said in a press release. "The cover photo is a reference to a Skeeter Davis record, and I'm wearing her costume!"

Jenny Lewis has been following her muse for more than two decades now, and Joy'All finds her following that spark to a freshly confident, joyfully relaxed plane of feeling. Of course, it helps when that muse appears in the form of a beloved four-legged friend: "I just follow Bobby Rhubarb's lead now, where she wakes up in the morning, first thing she yawns and then she stretches, and then she wants to go outside," Lewis told Exclaim! "Then we go outside, and then we sit in the sun for a minute. And then we come back in and she drinks water, and I drink water. Those are the important things in life."

Listen to Joy'All below. 


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