Material: The musical August Rush is about a guitar tapping prodigy. Christie Lenée is the first to admit that the film is a huge influence upon her work, which includes much of this mind-blowing technique. Lenée also reflects upon meeting guitarist Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews Band) with whom she eventually performs and records. This inspirational story is just one from Lenée and an inkling of the essence of her music.
Musicianship: Lenée’s compositions are mostly instrumental with a few original songs that veer toward the likes of Indigo Girls. She incorporates classical and jazz guitar training into her original tunes, but also has fun with a blues solo on a Memphis Minnie cover. “Breath of Spring” and “Daylight Comes” are similar to the work of Michael Hedges. Lenée rocks the stomp box, loop pedal and foot tambourine here to good effect.
Performance: Lenée appropriately pulled back on her microphone when she passionately belted out with her deep soulful voice. She was also sure to ask for more volume in her monitor as needed. Lenée can really shred on her guitars, and was wise to consistently retune throughout her show. She admitted to bravely restringing a 12-string guitar just before taking the stage. This did not slow down the progress of her performance at all, thanks to her relaxed demeanor and ability to share stories. “We Are One” was a definite highlight that got the audience clapping and singing. As this is so high energy it could easily have been pegged to be the closing song, but instead Lenée ended with the jazzy “Love Who You Are,” which left the audience entranced.
Summary: For this particular show Lenée performed as a duo with the equally talented guitarist and singer-songwriter Janet Robin, who regaled the audience with a blindfolded performance among other highlights. The set was interspersed with a certain amount of shoegazing techniques (Robin quips, “I don’t need a damn band!”), 12-string and 6-string songs, as well as both solo and duo numbers. Robin and Lenée encored with a fun cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.” The two were excellent at bringing down the dynamics. The show went for two hours but was never boring, which was a real testament to their talent.
The Players: Christie Lenée, vocals, guitar; Janet Robin, vocals, guitar.
Photo by Jodi Jackson
Venue: Genghis Cohen
City: Los Angeles, CA