4 Feb – Gullivers Lounge – Manchester
6 Feb – The Hug and Pint – Glasgow
8 Feb – Brudenell Social Club, Games Room – Leeds
9 Feb – Cluny 2 – Newcastle
12 Feb – Rough Trade West In-Store – London
13 Feb – Servant Jazz Quarters – London
15 Feb – The Prince Albert – Brighton
(more dates tba)
Praise for Heart Song:
“A voice in the vicinity of Cat Power or Karen Dalton, intimate and husky, as if lit by candlelight.” Mojo 4*s
“Bare-boned country-gothic confessionals full of ruined romance, self-lacerating depression and regret.” Uncut
“In turns stark and musically lush, hugely imaginative and yet entirely direct, the record seems to effortlessly move past her debut.” CLASH
“Chilling, endearing folk that both soothes and unsettles the soul.” London in Stereo
“Jess Williamson has a voice that deserves to be heard and appreciated, it’s full of bluesy soulfulness that’s capable of moving effortlessly between tender embrace and tortured soul.” Contact Music
But that was two years ago.
Williamson’s second album, Heart Song, questions the structures of support inherent in the comforts of home and showcases the rare kind of artistry that is the hardest to achieve after early success: change.
The opening song, “Say It”, eases the listener into a groove before the song cracks open and floods the landscape with squall and noise and thunder; announcing that Heart Song is not the same album as it’s predecessor, that this work is not only the next logical step in Williamson’s evolution, it is also a leap forward for her as an artist.
On the album’s centrepiece and title track Williamson wonders aloud, “Will I grow into my body?” but no one listening to her music, her poetry, will doubt her growth.
Something that I have, with you?
You’ve got the phases of the moon to blame
But I am a slave to a part of my heart
Nameless and untamed,
The seventh and final song, “Devil’s Girl,” closes out the album with a step back, just close vocals and quiet guitar, and we are reminded again of the essence of what makes Williamson such a phenomenal artist: her ability to tap into the universal. “Yesterday I was on the phone with a woman with my mother’s name/ Offering to meet me halfway between here and St. Louis /And I saw again the intimacy that comes between/ Strangers with stakes in the same crisis”. The song is a meditation and a restorative close to an extraordinary album.
Heart Song was recorded direct to tape in Austin, TX by Erik Wofford (The Black Angels, Bill Callahan) at Cacophany Studios and by the band in Jess’s house. It was mixed by Larry Crane (Elliott Smith, Sleater-Kinney, Cat Power) at Jackpot Recording in Portland, OR. The album is out now on Williamson’s own imprint, Brutal Honest, and is distributed worldwide via Kartel.