Jess Williamson is set to drop her sophomore album, Heart Song, later this fall. That was an easy sentence to write, but it wasn’t so easy for Williamson to arrive with her album at the ready. After returning home to Texas to record her excellent 2014 debut, Native State, she questioned whether the familiar comforts of home will help or hinder her evolution and growth as an artist and person going forward on Heart Song. That step back has led to a piercing, insightful collection of songs that incorporates the arid, sparse landscape of the Texas desert she calls home and creates a beautiful unresolved tension as she fights becoming too comfortable in it.
“See You In A Dream” is a beautiful mid-tempo excursion weaving layers of twangy guitar with minimal, dry but intricate percussive flourishes. Williamson cuts through with a weathered, sun-drained purity that registers like the first drop of water from a canteen as she yearns for a lover to discover who they are so she can too. She sings, “All I really want to do/ Is baby make it up to you/ And maybe sit next to you/ And just quietly listen to you,” as the energy swells around her voice for a potent crescendo. Her longing is inescapably palpable, and it makes for a ruggedly gorgeous song. Here’s what Williamson had to say about the song:
See You in a Dream is one of those songs that came together fast, like it wrote itself. I have this tendency to go into dark and minor key territory, and this was an experiment in using major chords but still making the song feel real sad. I think of this as my Willie Bob Buffet song. It’s a little Willie Nelson, a little Bob Dylan, and a little Jimmy Buffet. Not present day Jimmy, more like Key West in the 70s Jimmy. They were my sonic allies when I wrote and recorded this song. Lyrically, it’s a message to someone who wouldn’t see me or speak to me for years, but showed up in my dreams almost every night.
Heart Song is out 11/4 via Brutal Honest. Pre-order it here.