Heart Song

It can be hard to immediately captivate a listener, particularly if you’re not composing hook-driven repetitive pop. Jess Williamson’s newest record, Heart Song, is a reverb-drenched, vocal-forward collection that draws you in with simple, fluid folk tunes that feel more like passing pictures than typical songs. The Texan’s eerie howling vocals are immediately reminiscent of Cat Power or Angel Olsen, with flourishes in pronunciation that feel more akin to folk artists like Jolie Holland. While relatively short at just seven tracks (same as her debut), the album manages to immerse the listener in a dark blue mood, with thin, finger-picked guitar melodies that subtly meander and expand into a full-blown aural thicket (“Heart Song”). The truly haunting quality comes from the soul-baring lyrical content. The album ends on the frail and haunting note of “Devil’s Girl,” where Williamson candidly sings, “It’s evil how the best men I know are in and out of hospitals/Fighting some devil/maybe I am just the devil’s girl.” The starkness alone is enough to warrant a listen.