JESS WILLIAMSON – ” Sorceress “

Posted: May 16, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , ,

Jess Williamson Photograph

The Texas-born, L.A.-based singer and songwriter Jess Williamson makes deeply felt songs that orbit around her powerful voice, a voice that’s strong and vulnerable, big room flawless, quietly ecstatic, and next-to-you intimate. In her most recent work, “Sorceress”, that voice is surrounded by a deep-hued kaleidoscope of dusty ‘70s cinema, ‘90s country music, and breezy West Coast psychedelia.

While attending the University of Texas, Williamson began to find her footing as an artist in the DIY and student-run art and music spaces of Austin. A photojournalism major, she interviewed and photographed bands for the school newspaper and hosted a radio show on KVRX, the student-run radio station. But quietly, she had an insistent pull to pursue music herself. In her last year of school, following an impulse after seeing Austin’s Ralph White play the banjo at a house show in her friends’ basement, Williamson took up banjo lessons at South Austin Music, and soon after was writing songs and making home recordings. After graduating, she moved to NYC to attend an MFA Photography program at Parsons. But after a couple semesters, she realized the call to pursue a career in music was too big to ignore, and she dropped out. She started a band in NYC called Rattlesnake with another friend from Texas: Williamson played banjo, her friend played electric guitar, and they both sang. They played their first show at the now defunct venue, Death by Audio, in March of 2010. A few months later, drawn to her larger hometown community, she moved back to Austin to focus on her solo project.

Her fourth album, “Sorceress”, also with Mexican Summer, arrives 2020. It was written in Los Angeles, recorded at Gary’s Electric in Brooklyn, and finished at Dandy Sounds in Dripping Springs, where she recorded Cosmic Wink.  While she’s stayed true to her deep country roots, the music has grown in its ambitions. It’s her biggest, most assured collection to date, and a true document of the hard work paying off. About two-thirds of the way through the title track on her new album, Jess Williamson sings, “Yes, there’s a little magic in my hat / But I’m no sorceress.” Agree to disagree. Williamson is, at the very least, bewitching on Sorceress, her fourth album. It’s a blend of folk and country, with a dash of psychedelic rock, that brings together the strongest elements of her previous work—all the hints and glimpses of something deeper musically, and vocally, that never felt completely explored—into a fully realized collection of 11 songs that are at once polished, precise and visceral.

Jess Williamson – from the album ‘Sorceress’ out May 15th on Mexican Summer.

 

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