Michelle Lewis
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Michelle Lewis

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter




"Whisperin and Hollerin (UK)"

Michelle Lewis' second full-length album is an honest set of uncomplicated love songs about empty fridges and broken hearts.

A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Lewis sings simple songs from the heart in the homely country tradition of Nanci Griffith.

Even achingly sad songs like Paris are treated with a disarming lightness of touch. "Lately I've been wondering what's the point of living anyway", she sings, but in such a carefree manner that you just know that the heartbreak she feels will only be temporary.

She's a sensitive soul with a thick skin and a woman who knows when to say goodbye and move on. Sorry I Forgot To Write, the opening track, is an apology to an old flame tempered by the admission "to tell the truth I haven't tried".

Nate Gonzalez's accordion is an nice touch on None Of That Now, one of two songs co-written with Nashville's Robby Hecht.

Strings, clarinet, pedal steel and mandolin are among the other instruments that flesh out the richly melodic arrangements.

Simplicity is the keynote however and producer Anthony J.Resta helps ensure the tone remains bright and breezy.

If this record were a movie it would be a bittersweet romantic comedy with a feel good ending. - Whisperin and Hollerin (UK)

"Five stars from Pennyblackmusic (UK)"

With the closing months of each year, new versions of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ appear. You’d think there was little any ‘new’ artist or band could add to this seasonal favourite anymore. But Lily and Madeleine’s heavenly harmonies on the version they posted on-line towards the end of 2013 dispelled any thoughts that we’d yet heard the definitive version. As 2014 drew to a close, Boston-born Michelle Lewis issued her version of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ as her holiday single and added yet another dimension to the song, helped along by a touching video. Although that song isn’t featured on Lewis’s second full-length, recently released, album ‘The Parts of Us That Still Remain’, it highlights one of the elements that make the album so addictive; even when Lewis is in melancholy mode she brings light and inspiration into her delivery and arrangement of each song.

The album works so well because of a number of factors. The production that Lewis shares with Anthony J. Resta (Elton John, Perry Farrell, Guster and a vintage audio gear enthusiast) brings out the best in Lewis’s songs. Although Resta is credited with supplying (among other instruments) optigan, moog, omnichord, random falling bells, broken light bulb shaker and sci-fi mambo atmospherics, the production is subtle yet very effective. There are surprising sounds weaving in and out of the songs that not only add interest and texture, but also feel like they actually belong there and they form a major part of the song no matter how short their stay is.

Then there’s Lewis’s ability not just to write captivating lyrics but to fit whole stories into her songs, Lewis can bring so much meaning into what initially seems the most simplest of lines. Finally there’s the voice. Yes, it’s one of those voices that we feel we’ve heard before, but it’s still the owner of a certain uniqueness that’s 100% Michelle Lewis. There’s shades of Texan Nanci Griffith in there, touches of Australia’s Jenny Queen and more than a sprinkling of the Scandinavian coolness that the likes Marie Lindberg once tasted success with for sure, but really Lewis is a singer that has carved her own sound, not just vocally but with the arrangements she and Resta have created here.

Opening with ‘Sorry I Forgot to Write’, Lewis’s folky pop tendencies coupled with those pure, angelic vocals don’t need to drag the listener in; it’s instantly obvious that Lewis has the talent to pair her thoughtful and thought-provoking lyrics to beautiful, captivating melodies which at times betray the sadness in her lyrics. It’s the whole combination of those elements touched on above that make each and every song on ‘The Parts of Us That Still Remain’ so special; the fullness of the production, warm and inviting while not heavy-handed; each instrument (and non-instrument) being clear and in the right place at the right time; the way the melodies flow that will leave the songs floating around your head for the rest of the day and Lewis’s expressive, airy vocals bringing every story told in the songs to life. If any artist can transport the listener into the world they are singing about in their songs, Lewis must be near the top of the list.

‘Run Run Run’ is but one song where the soundscape created by Lewis and Resta perfectly captures the subject matter; loneliness and the time wasted making plans that never materialise. “I’ve been lonely for a long time/Always searching for someone/Still not sure what I am looking for/So I will run, run, run,” sings Lewis on it. It doesn’t matter how long ago you felt that. When Lewis sings those lines in her pure, crystal clear voice, the longing comes flooding back. And later in the same song when Lewis sings, “I have loved you since I met you/Always knew you were the one/If you need me I’ll come get you/Yes, I will run, run, run”, you can almost hear hearts break.

Like all great soul singers Lewis feels every word she sings. There’s honesty dripping off every line not just in this song but also throughout the whole album. Lewis doesn’t need the vocal aerobatics and forced emotion that so many think pass for great singing these days. She injects passion, honesty and feeling into each word, and with the sympathetic production Lewis and Resta have wrapped the songs in Lewis really has made a must-have album.

‘Just Like a Movie’ has, not surprisingly, a brilliant cinematic quality about it, turning what could be a misplaced waltz into one of the highlights of the album. ‘None of That Now’ shows Lewis’s country leanings, the use of accordion and upright bass once again proving that Lewis and Resta knew exactly what they were aiming for when recording these songs. The end results are so natural and honest you just can’t help but be impressed.

‘The Parts of Us That Still Remain’ will appeal to anyone who has loved, lost and loved again. There’s hardly a line here that Lewis has written which most people can’t identify with. The fact that you will probably find yourself trying to sing along with these songs of the heart even when the tears are rolling down your face just shows what a talented lyricist Lewis is. There’s plenty to discover here and a voice to fall in love to and with.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones; ‘The Parts of Us That Still Remain’ was my introduction to Michelle Lewis so I now have the pleasure of tracking down her debut from 2004, ‘This Time Around’ and the EPs Lewis released in 2009 and 2011. If they are half as good as Lewis’s current album they will still tower over much of what her contemporaries are recording right now.

‘The Parts of Us That Still Remain’ was released in the UK on 1st December 2014. Although its beauty is revealed on the very first play I know at least one of those ‘best of the year’ lists it would have made if it had reached a certain set of ears a little earlier, before the lists had to be compiled. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. - Pennyblackmusic.com

"Michelle Lewis – The Parts Of Us That Still Remain"

Ten years between your debut album and your second is a pretty long time, even if the gap was punctuated by a couple of EPs (but even then, only six songs in total) and I can find no explanation for the lengthy delay. No matter, while not having heard that first release myself, I’m sure patient fans will be pleased Michelle Lewis is back. I certainly am.

With a soft, sweet and fragile soprano that’s part Dolly Parton and part young Nanci Griffith she trades in melodic folksy pop with songs anchored in themes of love and relationships, delivered with a touch as light as the arrangements. Three of them are taken from the EPs: Paris, a resigned accordion-backed heartbreaker about realising that, even when love still burns, Paris and a dozen pink roses can’t mend a broken relationship and a broken trust; the similarly shattered slow waltzing Broken; and Something That Simple which, with its cello, accordion and mandolin, floats along like a balloon skimming the rooftops.

The rest of the songs featured on The Parts Of Us That Still Remain is all new material, two of which she co-wrote with the redoubtable Robby Hecht, the upbeat and consummately lovely Running Back Home with its tumbling harmony chorus refrain and the equally heart-ease, country shaded None Of That Now with its gently rolling rhythm and accordion solo.

Returning to the downside of love, Goodbye is another co-write, this time with Conan Skyrme, whose day job as a sound designer and documentary film composer which doubtless accounts for the more complex, jazzier rhythms with the skittering drums and delicate weave of cello and lap steel.

It’s not the only cinematic connection, Just Like A Movie, a waltzing song about the first flush of passion that, with clarinet and cello as dance partners, talks about her lover turning the silver screen to gold as she references It’s A Wonderful Life, Bogart, Burton and Some Like It Hot.

However, while not to begrudge her the sunnier moments, it’s when she sings of the heart’s darker passages that she’s at her best, particularly so with the album’s bookends, Sorry I Forgot To Write, Dolly Parton and Janis Ian colliding as, apologising to an old boyfriend, she sings “It’s just that I fell in love with someone else I put above everything else in my life”, and the lilting two minute string quartet accompanied closer Lost In LA (which drops in more film references with Popeye and Paramount) as she begs her lover not to leave her alone as he flies off “to Reno or Tahoe or Sparks”.

A feathery air may inform the album’s ambience, but behind it lie deceptively and disarmingly moving literate songs that catch you unawares with the acumen of their images and emotions. I hope she doesn’t leave it another ten years before she pulls on the heartstrings again. - FolkRadioUK

"A quality collection of crafted songs delivered simply and effectively"

This is an album of crystal clear production that highlights a collection of songs written with one eye on commercial success and one on her heart. Lewis appears to be the complete package, record execs must be salivating at the prospect of mega sales if they only get the marketing right. An aching soprano voice more often than not sitting atop a clear, spacey acoustic guitar, tasteful instrumentation and telling wry anecdotes and observations. Gentle choruses and tender thoughts. Everything that this reviewer normally shies away from but their is something here that is compelling. Perhaps it’s that it feels honest so when Michelle sings about not caring ‘about none of that now’ you know she’s not lying. The production is a soundscape in itself - this is not just cobbled together - from staccato cellos on ‘Just like a Movie’ , plucked banjos on ‘Running Back Home’ , piano on ‘Run, Run, Run” to the distorted violins on ‘Paris’ . All these merely frame the song writing and the sentiments and in no way detract from the whole. If traditional Nashville country is your thing this will tick that box, if you like a bit of Joni Michelle is probably your bag and if you just like a quality album that doesn't challenge but does take you somewhere else this is for you too. I loved it. - AmericanaUK

"Michelle Lewis - The Parts Of Us That Still Remain (Self Released)"

Closing your eyes and letting Michelle Lewis’s soft vocals lead you on a velvet laden journey is not a bad way to spend half an hour of your valuable leisure time. The Boston songstress (that’s MA not Lincs) is having a tilt at the UK market with a December 1 release of her second album and it’s a record smoothed for palatable consumption, yet rich in a lingering sensual delight. THE PARTS OF US THAT STILL REMAIN fits the mould perfectly of a steady stream of folk-Americana music hitting our shores with a Nashville style song writing coating added to a north eastern roots sound.

Michelle fills the lyrical landscape with loss, pain, lust, true love and visual experience using every inch of her schooling at the Berklee College of Music in her home city to influence the songs. Teaming up with Robby Hecht, especially on the gorgeous ‘Runnin’ Back Home’, has reaped dividends on a record addictive in its groove and flush of finely tuned songs. The arrangements only observe the boundaries of true authenticity and beautifully complement the vocals of Michelle who shares production duties with Anthony J. Resta.

Snippets of accordion give a classic European urban feel to several tracks and Michelle poses the question whether a trip to ‘Paris’ will solve the conundrum of a dying love in the track of the same name. With words such as ‘broken, sorry, lost and goodbye’ appearing in four of the song titles then you begin to feel which side of melancholy is influencing the album but then we all know what makes the better song. Yet in contradiction and making a strong case for the album’s outstanding track is the pure melodic romanticism of ‘Just Like a Movie’. Running it very close is the simplistic album closer ‘Lost in LA’, maybe or maybe not the autobiographical experience of making the record in southern California.

What helps to make this album a gratifying way to while away the time is the genuineness and belief in the songs. How anyone could not forgive Michelle for pleading ‘Sorry I Forgot to Write’ in the opening track is implausible or not will her on the fanciful journey explored in ‘Run, Run, Run’. An orchestral style arrangement adds a touch of elegance to ‘Something That Simple’ while a more pop infused beat graces ‘Goodbye’. An assortment of sounds decorates ‘Broken’ with simple organ and mandolin being vaguely detected and, last but not least, the accordion solo excels on ‘None of That Now’.

With the season of treats and indulgence accompanying the formal UK release of THE PARTS OF US THAT STILL REMAIN, the savouring of this seductive record by Michelle Lewis is surely more rewarding than that extra chocolate or tipple of your choice. However long after the festive season has subsided this record will retain appeal as Michelle Lewis is a talented singer-songwriter poised to spread her sensual sound far and wide. - Three Chords and the Truth UK

"Michelle Lewis - The Parts Of Us That Still Remain (Album Review)"

If may have taken a decade for Michelle Lewis to release her second full length album but some things are worth waiting for and ‘The Parts Of Us That Still Remain’ which was self-released earlier this year in the USA will finally see the light of day in Europe on December 1st, 2014. The album was recorded in North Chelmsford, MA and at the Paramount Recording Studios in Los Angeles owned by her long-time collaborator Anthony J. Resta who co-produced the album with Lewis.

Anthony J. Resta is a famed producer (Elton John, Shawn Mullins, Duran Duran etc.) and multi-instrumentalist with a studio known for the use of vintage audio gear and an innovative approach to recording which enabled him to perform the majority of the music alongside Steve Sadler (Lap Steel, Dobro, Mandolin etc.). The album uses the standard drums, bass, acoustic guitar template but the producers have expanded the soundscape with additional instrumentation and production techniques (Resta is credited with broken light bulb shakers, falling bells and sci-fi mambo atmospherics alongside the usual guitar, bass and drums). This all works incredibly well in adding to the overall tone of the album as the ten songs of love, loss and the complications of relationships unfold.

Opener ‘Sorry I Forgot To Write’ sets the scene beautifully with a lovely clear, airy, vocal from Lewis drawing you in to a plaintive tale of falling in love with someone else and being too embarrassed to face up to the implications. ‘Running Back Home’ is deceptively simple to start and builds to a quite exquisite chorus that features a terrific and very subtle, vocal harmony that takes the song to another level and ‘None Of That Now’ has the feel of a classic country tune with an accordion and upright bass from Greg Loughman adding to the warmth of the song. Once again the vocal harmony on the chorus seals the deal. ‘Running Back Home’ and ‘None Of That Now’ were co-written with Nashville songwriter Robby Hecht.

‘Just Like A Movie’ is a gentle waltz with the unusual, but highly effective, use of a clarinet as the lead instrument and the swell of a cello (recorded at the wonderfully named Cello Power Studios) is a good example of Lewis’ ability to give her songs an almost filmic quality that is shared with album closer ‘Lost In L.A.’ which although slight in length, seems perfectly formed due to the sumptuous use of a string quartet. ‘Goodbye’ a collaboration with Conan Skyrme, a sound design engineer more usually associated with film and documentary projects, is an interesting departure that fits with the feel of the album albeit with a slightly busier and more complex rhythmic musical approach. Highlights continue with ‘Run Run Run’ perfectly blending acoustic and electric guitars to tell the story of loneliness and the futility of making plans, while ‘Paris’ takes a look at a relationship in crisis.

Michelle Lewis has been compared to Jewel in some reviews, which seems valid, but I do feel that the clarity and consiseness of the songwriting on show here is superior and has a more natural feel. The sweetness and purity of her voice has innocence reminiscent of Dolly Parton at her best.

If you are looking for a beautifully produced, perfectly performed album that features a set of genuine and intimate songs then this is for you. - RedGuitarMusic.com


1. This Time Around (Full length album, 2004)

2. Broken (EP, 2009)

3. Paris (Digital EP, 2011)

4. The Parts Of Us That Still Remain (Full length album, 2014)

5. All That's Left (Full length album, 2018)



Michelle Lewis writes happy songs that bring tears, and sad songs that evoke smiles. Her music is rich with melody, and her lyrics seek beauty in the face of sadness. Too refined to call folk and too personal to call pop, as a singer/songwriter Michelle's music is uniquely intimate, and surprisingly polished. As a storyteller, she writes intensely visual songs that explore the emotional remainders in burgeoning and breaking relationships. 

Michelle Lewis picked up her father's acoustic guitar at the age of 14 and quickly abandoned interest in everything else. She honed her songwriting at Berklee College of Music in her hometown of Boston, and went on to tour the United States behind her first album, This Time Around (2004). She has been a long time collaborator with producer Anthony J. Resta (Elton John, Duran Duran, Shawn Mullins). Their work has included the release of her Broken (2009) and Paris (2011) EPs, and most recently her second full-length album, The Parts Of Us That Still Remain (2014), with songs co-written by Nashville favorite Robby Hecht and LA sound designer Conan Skyrme.

Band Members