Texas multidisciplinary artist Jess Williamson is our first Folkadelphia Session back after working on and airing our Unsung Episode on Jason Molina and Songs: Ohia, which you can listen to here. Perhaps my mind is just very stuck on Molina’s particular style and tone, but I can’t help making certain comparisons between the two artists, especially with Williamson’s most recent collection of songs, last year’s Native State.
As with Molina, Williamson has a knack for making music that seems so personal and introspective that it suddenly starts turning to become embracing to all of the listeners. I’m not sure how this happens, but I can guess that it’s a matter of trust and sincerity. Williamson is creating songs with substance – chock full of raw truths, anecdotes, and experiences, even if they are personal in form. But we don’t go through life witnessing this kind of revealing openness on a daily basis. Most people put up a facade, a barrier between the public “you” and the real, internal “you.” On Native State, Williamson has created a space for us to join her in, free from these barriers. She’s affording us a certain amount of trust with all of this personal stuff. With the first listen, the intimacy may be overwhelming – nothing separates the artist and the listener. With repeated listens, you may grow to become attached to this level of familiarity. You also start to use the artist as a mirror. You may think in on yourself, bringing up what lies within and cracking through the surface like a plant breaking through the sidewalk. Some kind of transference has occurred, internal reflection has caused external transformation. For this to happen, you know you’re in the presence of seriously moving music.