"Well you praise him / Then you thank him / 'Til you reach the by and by / And I've won hundreds at the track / But I'm not betting on the afterlife / …What have I done? / Why am I always messing with / The big guns? "—from "The Big Guns"
"I didn't intend to write a bunch of songs about God," singer/songwriter Jenny Lewis told NPR's Melissa Block about her solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat. "I guess that's what happens when you're about to turn 30… maybe being broken-hearted is not the only thing you want to sing about."
Rabbit Fur Coat takes Lewis in a different direction musically as well as lyrically. The Rilo Kiley lead singer and sometime vocalist for indietronic collaboration The Postal Service moves away from indie-rock and toward folk, country and soul. Reviewers frequently compare Lewis' sound to Neko Case, Patsy Cline, Laura Nyro, and Loretta Lynn.
The result is collection of soulful, occasionally anthemic musings marked by Lewis' ambivalence toward faith and the tensions she experiences between her questions and spiritual experiences of grace and joy. She's joined by Kentucky natives The Watson Twins, who bring a southern gospel sensibility to background vocals. Tracks were recorded on tape, using vintage equipment, and an eclectic, occasionally tough-to-identify mix of instruments (including an ebow, Wurlitzer organ, and lap-steel guitar) gives a track or two an especially haunted feel.
The album opens with a mournful, blues-gospel "Run, Devil Run," before segueing into the rollicking "The Big Guns," in which Lewis laments her inability to avoid difficult questions—and asks for mercy for the tired and lonely in the world. "Rise Up With Fists!!" is a modern protest song, lamenting social ills ...1