Jenny Lewis may not be from Louisville, but she certainly feels a connection to it.
“I also have some really close friends, The Watson Twins. I’m like their shorter sister,” Lewis said about the identical alt-country duo who are from Louisville, and now based out of Los Angeles. “And I’ve just had some really lovely experiences in Louisville and I really like the people. Really just some of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. I’ve always been drawn to Louisville, just because of the folks. And Jim James is a great friend of mine who I admire greatly. So I’m always down to come hang and play in Louisville. And I also like the horse races. So that’s a plus.”
Lewis sits on a very storied music-making history with a vast library of songs. She said Forecastle goers can be prepared for just about anything she’s produced in the past, as well as some material from the new album she’s been working on for the past year-and-a-half.
“I’m actually finishing up a mix on my record this week,” she said. “It should be wrapped up pretty soon. I’ll be playing a handful, if not more, of the new songs at the festival. I’m really excited and I want to start adding them into the setlist.”
But Lewis’ optimism is guided with cautious wisdom. It’s the age-old dilemma of the musician: to play songs before they are released or to not.
“You know, it’s always interesting introducing new material because people ultimately want to hear what they know,” Lewis said. “Even when I go to a concert, I find I’m less open to new material in a live context than setting down with a new record. I want to hear the hits. So, you have to dole them out carefully and also not take offense. But it feels so good to play something that’s new and be in the spirit of newness and excitement so it’s always worth the risk of a mediocre reaction because people are kind of chewing on it.”
With so many songs at her disposal, from so many different projects, what can Lewis’ fans expect to hear from her?
“I kind of look at my whole catalog and pick the songs that feel appropriate,” she said. “I’ve been playing some Nice As Fuck songs in the set, some Rilo Kiley songs. I’m pretty open at this point and there are no restrictions. It’s really based on what story I feel like telling. It’s fun to go back and reassess the past and see if it still feels relevant.”
While Lewis is certainly a veteran at performing, she’s only been part of the festival game for a relatively small amount of time. One of her first ever festivals was 2014’s Forecastle.
“I’m just happy to be out there again,” she said. “I had such a great time at the last Forecastle. It’s a great, really fun festival. It feels good to go back now, before I have a record again.” •