LA-based singer/songwriter Jess Williamson has shared her new single, “Smoke,” a deep country rock ‘n roll burner from her forthcoming album, Sorceress, out May 15th on Mexican Summer.
Following previously released singles “Infinite Scroll” and “Wind On Tin,” album opener “Smoke” begins with Williamson’s warm, alluring vocals and delicate finger pickings. Eventually, the track rises with muted percussion, lilting pedal steel, and piercing electric guitar. 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.
In 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. The video speaks to the stir craziness we’re all feeling in quarantine, and it very much emerged from that space: Working with what she had on hand, Williamson put on a funny outfit she found in her closet, grabbed her phone, danced around with incense, and lost her mind a little bit.
Sorceress was written in Los Angeles, recorded at Gary’s Electric in Brooklyn, and then finished at Dandysounds, a home studio on a ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, where she recorded all of 2018’s Cosmic Wink. The album is polished and assured and it hits immediately – like a modern classic should. Across eleven country western prayers and pop incantations, Williamson melds the magical with the day-to-day, and makes it feel universal.