Previewing Adrianne Lenker at the Vera Project

Black and white photo of Adrianne in front of an old stone house
Black and white photo of Adrianne in front of an old stone house

Author: Megan Karangutkar

Photo courtesy of artist’s bandcamp

To risk using a cliché, Adrianne Lenker has a way with words. As the lead singer of Big Thief, Lenker writes lyrics that can feel as much like short stories as they do songs. Tracks like “Capacity” or “Paul” are chock-full of specific names, lush settings, and engaging narratives. In her solo work, Lenker takes on a more intimate role as lyricist, maintaining her nuanced storytelling in a different setting than with her full band. She’s bringing this sound to the Vera Project on Saturday, February 9th.

Whereas Big Thief go for expansive, textured soundscapes, Lenker opts for more traditional folk-oriented music. On her solo record, abysskiss, songs are defined by intricate fingerpicking and layered acoustic guitars. If you find yourself in need of more introspective music for staring out into the rain, Adrianne Lenker has got you covered. abysskiss as a whole is perfect for this, but I would especially recommend the delicate sounds of “cradle” or “womb.” Other tracks like “out of your mind” or “Jonathan” have a slightly more energetic sound, keeping Lenker’s solo work inventive and interesting.

Lenker’s music, as a solo artist and with Big Thief, is the kind that rewards repeated listens. The textures and lyrics of her songs start to grow clearer as you return to them, allowing particular details rise to the surface. On “blue and red horses,” a song that may initially seem innocuous, vivid imagery becomes subtly violent. The lyrics of “from” tell a dark, threatening story about the birth of a child that becomes more heartbreaking as you pay attention. This is part of what I love most about Lenker’s solo work. The stripped back nature of her sound can be a beautiful mask for some pretty heavy stuff—you could probably fall asleep to these songs, if you don’t think too hard about them.


Adrianne Lenker is playing at the Vera Project on Saturday, February 9th with folk singer Luke Temple opening. The show is sold out, but be sure to check out Adrianne Lenker on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.



MEGAN KARANGUTKAR | ok but should i get bangs? | KXSU Music Reporter

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