CHICAGO TRIBUNE – MARCH 2, 2015
By Chrissie Dickinson
Jodee Lewis’ Americana delivered the goods
“Chicago boasts its share of fine Americana artists. Among them is Jodee Lewis, a singer-songwriter whose outsized talent is as big as her voice.
Lewis played the Old Town School of Folk Music on Sunday night, a performance that served as a celebration of the one-year anniversary of “Whiskey Halo,” her impressive solo debut.
Lewis is a Chicago transplant, born and raised in Missouri. She has been a longtime presence in the city’s country and folk scene, most notably as a member of the alt-country act the Spares. With her gentle twang and crystalline soprano, she invests her songs with a palpable ache that recalls country thrush Lee Ann Womack.
An adept acoustic rhythm guitarist, Lewis was backed by three fine players — acoustic and electric guitarist Doug Zylstra, upright bassist Christian Dillingham and fiddler Katie Abernethy. Together they achieved a rich chamber-country sound that fit snugly into the warm confines of the Old Town’s Szold Hall.” Read full article >>
A native of the Missouri Ozarks, Jodee Lewis was raised on folk songs and honky-tonk, and her music reflects the best of both worlds. The Chicago Tribune says she is “a singer-songwriter whose outsized talent is as big as her voice,” and calls her first album,Whiskey Halo, an “impressive solo debut”.
Already this year, her single from the album, In The End, was chosen as the first place winner in the 16th annual Great American Songwriting Contest. Additionally, at this year’s 14th annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs), Whiskey Halo was chosen as country album of the year, and the single, From A Bottle, took top honors as country song of the year. From A Bottle also took runner-up in the 2014 International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA) in the country category.
Lewis trained in classical piano and began playing guitar and writing music after moving to Chicago in 1999 with her husband, Chad. Growing up in a small town, Lewis sang in her church gospel choir and with her grandfather’s country band, eventually attending Washington University in St. Louis to study Chemical Engineering. After a career with companies such as Monsanto and Clorox, Lewis decided to focus on music and raising her three children.
She explores the themes of loss, heartache, and ultimately, finding hope and beauty during moments of challenge. Considered a true storyteller, Lewis uses music to connect with listeners through shared emotion and honesty. The Chicago Tribune says “With her gentle twang and crystalline soprano, she invests her songs with a palpable ache that recalls country thrush Lee Ann Womack”.
Chicago, Ill. — A veteran of the Chicago folk and country music scenes, singer-songwriter Jodee Lewis is releasing her first solo album, Whiskey Halo, with a concert at Old Town School of Folk Music on Sunday, March 2.
Described by the website BabySue as “a breathe of fresh air” and “genuine and personal,” the 13-track record incorporates elements of country, pop and bluegrass that bring to life some of the challenges and joys Lewis has faced as a daughter, wife and mother.
“Stepping out as a solo artist was liberating and allowed me to really share an intimate view of my experiences and emotions through the stories created with each song,” said Lewis. “This was deeply personal for me, and I hope to really connect with listeners through this album.”
With a voice considered “hauntingly gorgeous” by Maverick Magazine and “simple, aching and hearty” by NewCity Chicago, Lewis is also an accomplished classical pianist. She is joined on Whiskey Halo by a number of talented Chicago-based musicians, including Robbie Fulks and Jonas Friddle. Fulks, a leader in the Chicago country music community, and Friddle, 2013 winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, will perform with Lewis at the March 2 concert.
Lewis was raised in the Missouri Ozarks on folk songs and honky-tonk, and her music reflects the best of both worlds. She grew-up singing in her church gospel choir and with her grandfather’s country band. Her collaboration on the original song Mexico was featured in season four of the HBO series True Blood.
Columbia Daily Tribune declared her music “a little bit celestial, a little bit world-weary…portraying strength and vulnerability equally well, often times in a single phrase or note.”
For more information on Jodee Lewis and on how to purchase Whiskey Halo, visit www.jodeelewis.com.
For ticket information to the Old Town School of Folk Music concert, visit www.oldtownschool.org.
Whiskey Halo Fact Sheet
- Whiskey Halo is Jodee Lewis’ first solo album, and the 13-track record focuses on the theme of finding hope through loss and heartache.
- The album was created over a two-month period in 2013.
- Lewis is an independent musician and wrote all of the songs on Whiskey Halo, except There is a Fountain and I Lift My Eyes to the Hills (which she co-wrote with Dan Moore).
- The album was recorded and mixed with Dave Whitcomb at Stray Dog Recording Company in Chicago.
- On the record, Lewis sings all lead vocals and plays acoustic guitar.
- Whiskey Halo features numerous Chicago-based musicians, including Robbie Fulks and Jonas Friddle.
- Robbie Fulks’ record Gone Away Backward was featured on Rolling Stones’ “10 Best Country Albums of 2013.”
- Jonas Friddle was the 2013 winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
- The album will be released at a concert on Sunday, March 2, at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.
- During her more than 10-year music career, Lewis has performed at Chicago-area music venues such as Old Town School of Folk Music, Biograph Theater, Fitzgerald’s, City Winery, SPACE and Schubas.