Spiritual Jenny finds her strong tragic characters very appealing

Jewish Telegraph, January 2006

RILO Kiley lead singer Jenny Lewis makes her solo debut later this month.
The former child star has joined forces with the Watson Twins for Rabbit Fur Coat (Rough Trade), which will be released on Monday January 23.
Despite releasing their first album in 2000, it wasn’t until last year’s More Adventurous that Rilo Kiley came to prominence.
Of the spiritual imagery that appears on Rabbit Fur Coat, Jenny explained in a recent interview with Lemonade Magazine: “There are a couple elements, like the metaphor of the coat crops up throughout the record, as well as the God-searching or God-fearing or God-believing or disbelieving elements. But no, my family was like ‘religion of the week’.
“There wasn’t any real focus, although I am Jewish because my mother is Jewish and her mother was Jewish. I think without that kind of formal religious understanding or education growing up, in my 20s I started to question a little bit.
“It also has to do with the political climate of the last couple of years, particularly this last year. I felt that I was left out somehow, that the view of the country, the way the majority of the people felt didn’t necessarily reflect the way that I felt.”
Jenny, who has starred in more than 20 films including Pleasantville and The Wizard, added that she felt religion was more connected to politics than “I personally feel comfortable with”.
She said: “I have no problem with faith and people believing what they want, but I would prefer it be left at home. I’d rather be governed by people that don’t necessarily use religion all the time”.
Rabbit Fur Coat includes 12 tracks including Big Guns, Happy and Run Devil Run.
“I basically grew up with my mother’s record collection, and country was the first kind of music that I really identified with,” she added in her interview.
“The sorrow in the songs definitely struck a chord when I was a young girl, but it’s not like my friends in grade school were trading country records.
“Your musical taste is formed by what your parents listen to and then of course by what you choose later on in life.
“But I think that the stories in the songs appealed to me as did the strong, tragic female characters.”

Jewish Telegraph deputy editor and arts editor. Email Mcohen@jewishtelegraph.com with your Jewish arts stories