Have you ever heard a voice so captivating that it commands your attention immediately? A voice so calming that you feel every lyric of a song? A voice so alluring that you want to hear more? Enter Jess Williamson.
Written in LA, recorded in Brooklyn and finished at a home ranch in her native Texas, Williamson’s latest record Sorceress encompasses the rich culture and defining sounds of these areas. From the touches of '80s cinema that are woven throughout the toe-tapping “Infinite Scroll” to the Western vibes that provide the backbone to the sultry and smooth “How Ya Lonesome,” Sorceress intertwines these musical themes with the singer’s modern day folk sound. While Williamson may have stayed true to her folk roots, her ambitions have certainly grown.
Introductory track “Smoke” opens with a lonesome acoustic guitar providing the accompaniment to Williamson’s greatest instrument - her voice. Harmonised choral vocals crescendo towards the track’s conclusion, climaxing somewhere between hauntingly beautiful and powerfully calming.
Williamson truly soars when her moving vocals combine with the vivid imagery that is painted through the lyrics. “Oh to be as the birds are / unburdened by loneliness / oh to be a shining star / so far away with no regret,” the singer croons ruefully during “As the Birds Are,” evoking feelings of regret and the longing to break free from the shackles of past mistakes.
These powerful images continue throughout Sorceress, from the religious seeking “Wind on Tin,” “Heard a sound so heavenly / were the angels singing just for us / or is that what the wind / out here does on tin.” to the poetic title track: “may I remind you no one's keeping score / so what are you dying for?”
However, what sets Williamson apart from others is her ability to make us feel like she is singing only for us. We experience every emotion with the singer. We feel love, we share heartbreak, we encounter sadness and we find our inner strength. As the final notes of concluding track “Gulf of Mexico” ring out, you could say Sorceress is a musical journey, but it is a journey worth taking.