Adrianne Lenker, the lead singer for Big Thief, evokes a number of formidable female vocalists over the course of her group’s debut album, Masterpiece.
There is the medieval balladry of Joanna Newsom in “Lorraine,” the defiant-yet-vulnerable reveries of Sharon Van Etten in “Masterpiece,” and the cool, removed evocations of Angel Olsen in “Randy” (and it’s not just females that Lenker evokes, either, as “Velvet Ring,” sounds hauntingly similar to Elliott Smith’s best work.)
But one artist looms large over this album, and it’s Jenny Lewis, former lead singer of Rilo Kiley (and current member of the surprise rock trio Nice as Fuck.) Both in her work fronting Rilo Kiley and in her solo efforts, Lewis has always been the perfect conduit for the range of emotions people experience in everyday existence. She can project mightiness as effortlessly as she can show crumbling vulnerability.
Lenker has that same instinct — the ability to tap into a wealth of emotional spigots to give her album the feel of a roller-coaster ride — in short, the feeling of life. It helps that both Lenker and Lewis both front bands with the same, twangy, space country musical pedigrees (and are both members of the venerable indie label, Saddle Creek.) Lewis has a preternatural instinct for writing inclusive, universal and confessional recordings, and Lenker seems like a worthy successor to that work.
On Tuesday night, fans will get a chance to see that universal appeal, when Lenker and Big Thief take the stage at the Rickshaw Stop. They’ll be backed by Luke Temple“>Luke Temple (of Here We Go Magic) and Big Kitty.
Big Thief, Luke Temple, Big Kitty
The Rickshaw Stop
July 5, 2016
8 p.m. $10/$12 (All ages)