Jess Williamson is a folk singer/songwriter from Austin (by way of Dallas), Texas. Her debut album Native State was released today via Brutal Honest Records. It actually looks like a self-release. It looks like this is the only thing on that “label”. There’s 300 copies of the vinyl, and the cool thing about it is that it’s on “Texas Stage Flag tri-color” vinyl.
I know very little about this young woman, and I learned most of it from the press release. She’s from Dallas, and after she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, she headed to New York to start working towards an MFA in photography. After realizing that the amount of debt she would accrue would preclude her from being able to be a touring musician, she abandoned her studies and moved back to the Lone Star State. This album has been something like 18 months in the making.
I’ve heard a tiny bit of advance buzz about this album, and when I finally heard it today, I was pretty impressed.
I don’t know who her backing band is, but this record is highlighted by dobro, banjo, and cello. Her voice reminds me a little bit of some of the early Cat Power stuff. Thematically, the songs on this album are about pain. Heartbreak. Healing.
While many of the other songs on this album rely on the banjo, this one is centered around the lovely twang of the dobro.
“Blood Song” by Jess Williamson
It’s about some things that show up in a lot of the songs that I feature on this blog. Falling out of love. Road trips. Frustration.
It’s achingly beautiful, and I can’t get enough of it.
It looks like Jess Williamson will be one of the support acts when the lovely and amazing Angel Olsen makes a stop in Austin on February 25. That should be quite a thrill for Williamson, and quite a treat for the audience. By the way, Angel Olsen’s new record Burn Your Fire For No Witness, will be out on February 18, and if you pre-order a physical copy, you’ll get an immediate download. Do it.
The Angel Olsen record has already pretty much secured a spot in the top half of my year-end list. This Jess Williamson record might find its way there, too.