One week after wrapping up a string of shared shows in the Southwest, Jenny Lewis and Ryan Adams teamed up again last night, when both songwriters hit the stage during an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live. Lewis was the show's musical guest, in her last gig of a busy year spent creating, releasing and promoting her third solo album, The Voyager. She brought along Adams for the ride, adding her producer — who recorded the bulk of The Voyager in his own PAX-AM Studio — to a large, all-star backup band that also featured several other solo artists, including guitarist Megan McCormick, keyboardist Natalie Prass and harmony vocalist Z Berg.
Together, the group played "She's Not Me" — which Adams covered with his own band on December 11th, during a California concert that doubled as his final co-headlining show with Jenny Lewis — and "Just One of the Guys." It wasn't the pair's first time performing each other's songs. Earlier this month, Adams joined Lewis onstage during a show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, guesting on "Just One of the Guys" and "Head Underwater." Lewis returned the favor during Adams' set later that night, singing Emmylou Harris' part in "Oh My Sweet Carolina" and Kim Richey's harmony vocals in "Come Pick Me Up."
Lewis and Adams were virtually strangers until the PAX-AM recording sessions, which were originally scheduled for a single day. Earlier this year, Lewis talked with Rolling Stone Country about her experience working with the songwriter/producer.
"I just went into [Pax-Am Studio] to record one tune, 'She's Not Me,' which was a song I'd been working on in this Keith Richards-ish open tuning," she said. "I couldn't finish it, so I decided to go over there and cut it with [Ryan Adams]. We put together a band, including Griffin [Goldsmith, of Dawes] on drums and Ryan on guitar. By the end of the day, we'd recorded 'She's Not Me' live, two takes. And I was like, 'Oh my god, Ryan is a badass producer. And a great guitar player.'"
Adams proved his guitar chops again last night, taking two solos on "She's Not Me" and cranking up the tremolo during a warm, wistful "Just One of the Guys." Although Lewis wound up tapping Beck to produce the version of "Just One of the Guys" that made its way onto The Voyager's final track list, she later released the original recording — featuring Adams' production — on the Pax-Am Sessions EP, a limited-edition collection that was released last month in conjunction with Record Store Day.
The Jimmy Kimmel Live performance brings both Lewis and Adams' years to a close. Adams kicks off another busy touring season on February 19, 2015, less than two weeks after going head-to-head with rock groups like U2, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and the Black Keys at the 57th annual Grammy Awards.