Even Handed

Lewis makes more progress with Deep Elm Records

For Lewis, each album may be a scrapbook of where the band has been, but it's also like a road map of where the band is going, using the wrong turns and pitfalls as well as the successes to decide its future. "We start over every time," Tohlen says. "When we write an album, we then look back and say, 'OK, what did we like about it? What didn't we like about it?' And then we re-evaluate what we want to do."

Progress and Regress taught Lewis about recording and developing its sound. "With that album we learned a lot," Truly says. "We weren't really happy with how that sounded. We didn't think it sounded like us. And when we recorded Even So with Matt Pence, we got done and we thought that was what we sounded like live. Our first album didn't really capture that, and I think that that's the biggest change from that album to this album."

Tohlen agrees, "We were totally able to relax in the studio and just have fun. I won't say things didn't go wrong, but we were able to have that opportunity. Matt is a really laid-back guy anyway, and we were able to toy around and mess with things and try some things that didn't work."

The semipermanent lineup of Lewis: Catch 'em while you can.
L. Ladshaw
The semipermanent lineup of Lewis: Catch 'em while you can.

Lewis hopes to be back in the studio by the end of the year to record the songs that Tohlen and Beaton have been writing by sending MP3s back and forth from Chicago to Dallas, adding new lines and writing new parts without a permanent drummer. Before they can complete these songs in person and get in the studio, however, Lewis must tour to support Even So.

And Tohlen's theory of the impermanence of life comes into effect there. Truly, who's getting married in November, won't be able to go on tour this time, so Tohlen and Beaton will be playing with a substitute drummer and bass player. "This is not what we originally wanted to do," Tohlen says. "It sucks because it's not these four guys who had this dream of going out and playing together, but I'm really looking forward to playing in support of this album. I think we've done a really good job with it, and we like what Matt Pence has done. I think with the work that we've put into it, I'd hate to see us sit back and just not do anything with this album."

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