Jenny and Johnny hit Glasgow and Edinburgh on UK tour
Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice
‘Jenny and Johnny just looks good on a T-shirt,’ drawls Johnathan Rice in his lazy transatlantic way down the phone from the Laurel Canyon home that the Scots-American singer-songwriter shares with his romantic and musical partner Jenny Lewis, the former child actress and frontwoman for LA indie rock darlings Rilo Kiley. He rather captures the no-nonsense essence of this matter-of-factly-monikered duo.
The pair have played together frequently since meeting in 2005, and Rice contributed heavily to Lewis’s 2008 solo album Acid Tongue. But their Mike Mogis-produced debut LP I’m Having Fun Now – a breezy, uncomplicated mix of West Coast power-pop and warm Nashville harmonies - represents the first time Jenny and Johnny have shared equal billing.
They’re still very much in the honeymoon period of their collaboration by the sound of things. ‘We really are having fun,’ he says. ‘We get to travel all over the world; the wine is for the most part free. We get to play every night. At the moment we’re just at the stage where we truly enjoy it.’
Rice was born and largely raised in Virginia, but his parents are both Scottish and he spent part of his childhood in Bishopbriggs. Glasgow represents something of a home-from-home for him and Lewis, and a favourite touring destination, where audiences – unlike in LA, Rice stresses – are never ‘too cool for school’. A staunch Celtic fan, he uses a sporting non-sequitur worthy of a pro pundit to reinforce his point. ‘It’s like when you go to see the LA Lakers play basketball,’ Rice muses, ‘the crowd isn’t singing for the entire 90 minutes’.
Oran Mor, Glasgow, Sat 27 Nov; Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Tue 30 Nov