Arwen Lewis

Arwen Lewis
*NEW Release* Under The Stars EP - Released April 28, 2023

First Single “Winter” released - March 17, 2023

“Black Moon” released - April 7, 2023

Technically, Arwen Lewis inhabits our blue planet, but so much about her believes and belongs in the celestial realm. First and foremost, her earthily angelic voice (just listen and you’ll know that’s not a contradiction in terms). Then there’s her lineage: The granddaughter of Oscar-winning actress Loretta Young and the daughter of Peter Lewis, a founding member of ‘60s psychedelic cult heroes Moby Grape, she’s been part of the creative cosmos all her life. So it’s no surprise that Arwen’s new OMAD EP is called Under the Stars—or that a slice of sonic heaven is poised to enter your heart, mind and soul. 

“I’ve always had a fascination for the universe—it just trips me out!” Arwen says.  “Now, I’m drawn to songs that take those ideas about how vast and mysterious it all is and relate it to human experience.”  

While Arwen’s self-titled debut, released in 2015, featured her interpretations of her father’s songs, this time out she’s flying higher, as both producer and writer. Self-penned tunes include the layered, wistfully longing “Man on the Moon” and the beautiful heartbreak of “Winter,” showcased in two arrangements—once with gently growling guitar and again accompanied by piano and cello. 

 Not that Arwen could resist digging into her dad’s archive, with a lilting, countrified cover of his “Black Moon.” Plus, she brings her earnest, unaffected gift to a pair of iconic tunes: a trumpet-driven version of Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes” and a frankly folky take on Joni Mitchell’s “I Think I Understand.”

 The EP came together organically, at first just she and a friend—guitar impresario Jonathan McEuen—“scratching out ideas in my living room,” Arwen says. Jonathan mentored me,” Arwen candidly admits. “He also arranged everything perfectly—truly the musical director for this project.” A select few recruits from the deep end of the California talent pool came aboard next, including rock and roll “space traveler” Jason Achilles, Los Angeles film composer/all-around scene staple George Adrian, and trumpeter Jeff Elliott. Plus, yes, Peter Lewis is present as well, slinging a Strat on one track. The recording was finished at Surprise Studio with Graham Palmer as the engineer. “While I had complete creative control,” says Arwen, who also plays guitar on the record, “I was lucky enough to get together with amazing musicians who were in sync with the way I hoped to express these songs.” 

 To wit: A vintage vibe with unique personal spirit. “The songs I wrote as well as the ones I chose reflect the music I was raised on: Joni, Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, The Byrds, Nina Simone,” she says, noting that embracing the music of others, adding your unique twist, and the putting it out there is “basic to the communal tradition of folk, passing the songs from person to person, generation to generation.”  Indeed, she might well be singing about the importance of performance on “Man on the Moon” when she promises: “Believing in the stars that I cannot see, I know there’s a way to where you are.”

Under The Stars Press:

Debut Album “Arwen” Released 2015

For her debut album Arwen, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Arwen Lewis chose to offer up her own impassioned interpretation of music that’s quite literally in her DNA. The daughter of Moby Grape founding member Peter Lewis (and granddaughter of Oscar- and Emmy Award-winning actress Loretta Young), Arwen took on a selection of the legendary San Francisco band’s songs and revamped their psychedelia-tinged brand of rock music for a whole new era. 

Built on her raw but graceful guitar work and gorgeously soulful vocals, the result is a blend of melody-laced folk, gritty blues, and powerfully charged rock & roll that feels both timeless and undeniably of-the-moment.

To create the album, Arwen worked in close collaboration with her father and Academy Award-winning, Grammy Award-nominated producer/longtime Moby Grape fan John DeNicola. Featuring the soul-stirring “Omaha” (a rollicking anthem authored by the late Skip Spence, its title a play on the mantra-induced revelation “Om…aha!”) along with the gloriously epic and harmony-driven “Indifference” (another Spence number) and the sweetly melancholy ballad “Sitting by the Window” (penned by Peter Lewis), Arwen puts a new spin on Moby Grape’s multi-vocalist approach by placing Arwen as lead singer on each track. Thanks to her uncommonly honest vocals, Arwen infuses every song with a warm intimacy and gives new vitality to Moby Grape’s lush and edgy lyricism.

“Arwen’s a child of the San Francisco sound, and she’s got an ease of delivery that lets that sound flow through her in a way that just feels completely fresh,” DeNicola points out.

Arwen first began honing her natural musicianship several years ago, mainly by learning guitar and songwriting under her father’s guidance (as well as resuming her childhood studies in piano). After taking time to develop her craft and find her voice as a musical artist, Arwen joined her father in self-recording a batch of Moby Grape songs at her family’s California home. The bicoastal collaboration between artist and producer began when Arwen and Peter scratched out the structure of the songs, a process that DeNicola continued by building up the tracks with a host of musicians in his New York City studio. Culminating with Arwen and her father joining DeNicola in New York to contribute their final vocals and guitar parts, Arwen holds true to Moby Grape’s musical vision by re-creating the band’s signature three-guitar orchestration. And in the case of “If You Can’t Learn from My Mistakes” (written by Peter Lewis), that kaleidoscopic guitar sound is rounded out with a guest performance from the Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian. 

Arwen was born partly from an urge to unearth what its creator considers a musical hidden gem.

“I remember listening to Moby Grape when I was younger and realizing how they’ve influenced a lot of authentic rock & roll, and even had some similarities to the punk music I loved,” says Arwen. “It’s like they were unknowingly setting something up for the artists that would come along years after them.”

With her other key inspirations ranging from Billie Holiday to Miles Davis to folk poet Tim Hardin, Arwen aims to channel that authenticity and forward-looking but classically minded sensibility into her future musical endeavors.  Arwen says she’s excited to experience the songs along with live audiences. “To me music has always been about breaking barriers between people,” Arwen notes. “Playing and singing have become my connection to the world, and I want these songs to be for everybody.”

Visit The Omad Records Site To Purchase The Music

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