Hand Over That Rabbit Fur Coat

It’s now been ten years since the release of Jenny Lewis’ first solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, and she’s now forty. The record has sort of a country/gospel sound to it, with the Watson Twins providing accompaniment. To mark this, Jenny played a few anniversary shows. I wasn’t able to get tickets to the first one in New York, but fortunately she added another day, which was yesterday. Even so, I ended up sitting in the very back row. The opener was M. Ward, who sang on Jenny’s cover of the Traveling Wilburys’ “Handle with Care.” I know he’s the Him from She and Him, but I’m not really familiar with his solo work, and I honestly can’t remember much about what he played. Oh, well. Jenny played two sets, joined on stage by the Watsons and a full band. The first was the entirety of Rabbit Fur Coat in order. It began with Jenny and the twins carrying out candles on “Run Devil Run,” for which they did not sing the additional lyrics that I remember from an earlier concert. After “You Are What You Love,” the band played while Jenny went off to change her outfit, then she returned for a solo version of the album’s title track. Ward joined her on “Handle with Care,” and one of the Watsons played a harmonica. I have to admit I don’t know which twin is which; they’re identical and part of their shtick seems to be operating as a single unit. At one point, they even drank from their water bottles at the same time. They do apparently play some different instruments, though.

For the second set, Jenny wore her rainbow suit from the cover of The Voyager and performed songs from throughout her career, including Rilo Kiley’s “Silver Lining” and “I Never.” I thought I saw an interview where she said she’d been playing “A Better Son/Daughter” recently, so I was a little disappointed not to hear that, but “I Never” is one of my favorite vocal performances of Jenny’s. She did more between-song banter during this set, like introducing “Just One of the Guys” as being about a drug dealer, then correcting herself to say it’s about a FERTILITY drug dealer. Also included in this set were “See Fernando,” for which she danced with the Watsons during the instrumental parts; and a cover of the Shirelles’ “I Met Him on a Sunday.” I’m glad I got to see this; it was an excellent production, and Jenny remains adorable, even if she won’t share her ice cream.

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