Album Review: Jess Williamson – Sorceress

In a recent conversation with Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, Jess Williamson discussed how she was inspired by Kacey Musgraves’s ‘Golden Hour’ to fully embrace all her musical influences – from indie, to country, to pop, psychedelia and beyond. The musical results she conjures up on this new album Sorceress are shimmering and glorious.

From the opening song Smoke the album’s stylish musical heart sounds effortless but you know this atmosphere has been carefully crafted. On As the Birds Are her voice floats even higher, reaching heavenly heights as she sings of regrets, love, growing up.

Wind On Tin sounds like a Kate Bush country song about cowboys crying at a funeral and if that doesn’t make you yell yeehaw and head to listen to this right now then you’re reading the wrong blog.

What I really love about this album is how Williamson mixes a sweet folk side with airy modern sounds too. She’s of the earth and the sky. Like the title track suggests she might have a little magic in her hat but she keeps her feet grounded – lyrically and musically.

On Infinite Scroll she sees the endless possibilities of life and social media as an equal blessing and curse. Many of these songs are about process of knowing yourself, of moving forward and becoming who you are, like Love’s not hard to Find and Ponies in Town.

Her songwriting looks outward on Rosaries at the Border – the story of a mother seeking a better life. The song is an example of how the album is rooted in real life, but also searches for higher truths.

Sorceress finishes by taking us to the Gulf of Mexico, with the music echoing the sounds of the waves as she muses on the nature of time. Despite the hedonistic beauty of the party she concludes she’d rather be at home. A woman creates her own future, dreams it into life. And yet she also understands that life is about phases, as changeable as the coming and going of the tides, as fleeting as sand falling through your fingers.

On the surface Sorceress is the prettiest album you’ll hear all year, listen closer and these songs of quiet transformation, strength and wisdom will take your breath away.

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