Jess Williamson, the LA-based, Austin native is releasing her new album, Sorceress, on May 15th via Mexican Summer. Across eleven country western prayers and pop incantations, Williamson melds the magical with the day-to-day, and makes it feel universal.
Williamson has now shared the new single, “Smoke”. The video, directed by Williamson and filmed at home on her iPhone during quarantine, lit incense is the main character—its smoke sets the stage for an animated mushroom dance (by Alex Tults), a la Fantasia.
Williamson’s lyrics are both diaristic and universal as she describes a relationship that’s falling apart, using a house as a metaphor for a place of protection, but also a source of danger; “This song is about a codependent relationship. It’s told from the perspective of the person who keeps giving and giving, and, on some level, they like it,” says Williamson.
Offering a deep-hued kaleidoscope of dusty ‘70s cinema, ‘90s country music, and breezy West Coast psychedelia, Sorceress weaves a woman’s wild love letters to a confusing present and uncertain future—with reflections on femininity and the pursuit of perfection, New Age beliefs and practices, critiques of capitalism and social media, southern and western landscapes (and the birds who inhabit the skies of each), and intimate details of the lives and deaths of loved ones and friends. It’s a record about loss of innocence and acquired wisdom that’s self-critical, self-assured, and soul-searching.
Sorceress was written in Los Angeles, recorded at Gary’s Electric in Brooklyn, and then finished at Dandy Sounds, a home studio on a ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, where she recorded all of 2018’s Cosmic Wink. While she’s stayed true to her deep country roots, the music has grown in its ambitions. The shift happened incrementally, though without skipping a step, so like the rest of what Williamson does, it feels perfectly natural and true. Because of that honesty, even though the complex, multi-layered music on Sorceress is so different from where she started, you can still feel everything she’s done previously breathing contentedly in its shadows.