For the past 20+ years, Kim Lenz was one of the most prominent female voices of the Rockabilly Revival movement. On February 22nd, she’ll release her new album Slowly Speeding, via Blue Star Record Company, which represents a new direction for the LA-based songwriter and band leader. Slowly Speeding features a more Americana-inspired sound and a renewed emphasis on lyricism and mood.
“I started out in the ’90s making traditional rockabilly music,” writes Lenz. “But in my journey to understand how rockabilly and rock & roll came into being, I found blues, rhythm & blues, gospel, Western swing, and country music.” Somewhere between the rock & roll of Southern California and the country swing of Texas was where Lenz cemented the gritty, half-yodel sound that fills Slowly Speeding.
That feminist ideal of resilience rises again and again throughout the record. “Mother Earth played a big part in this project,” Lenz says. “Pine trees, willow trees, the stars, the moon, the ground cracking, wild oaks, thunderstorms, rivers, the sea… nature as a metaphor for strong emotion and the strength of women.” Sex, too, plays its part, as it would in any great love story. “I think all the love and sex and nature go hand-in-hand to cement the feel of this record,” Lenz explains.
Lenz’ new album occupies a unique space that finds her blending the sounds of the two roots genres while also incorporating atmospheric pedal steel and reverb to create an at times noir-oriented vibe. Nowhere is that more evident than on “Pine Me,” an entrancing inversion on a murder ballad that injects a fantastical, gothic vibe into the traditional country format.