Jess Williamson : Time Ain’t Accidental

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Jess Williamson Time Ain't Accidental review

There’s a tenderness, an aching, and a sense of newfound power that act as the driving forces behind Jess Williamson’s bold fifth release, Time Ain’t Accidental. Throughout her follow-up to 2020’s Sorceress, the singer/songwriter explores how time has both hindered and healed her, as she examines the complexities of past, present and future on eleven stunning, twinkling, beautifully honest tracks.

The album’s title track shines as a beacon of hope after heartbreak and a massive life change. The beginning of the pandemic left Williamson in Los Angeles after a breakup, feeling the weight of the world and the tides changing. Going back to her musical roots and leaning into her niche of country music that has a tone of empowerment and intense honesty, Williamson found herself again within new demos, utilizing more drum machines and melancholic harmonies. “Time Ain’t Accidental” was written after a day of escape with an old friend in Marfa, Texas. The song oozes with the feelings only a new love can bring, a dreamy and twinkling peer into opening up again. Williamson said about the experience, “I wasn’t sure if or when we’d see each other again, but I felt so full of love and I hadn’t felt that way in a very long time. It’s really the story of a day together—we flirted by a hotel pool bar and went on a drive, we had a sweet night—and then I had to go, neither of us really knowing what, if anything, would come next.”

Williamson’s soaring vocals blend all of the album’s elements together, a constant swell of yearning and love brewing within delicate lyrics. Williamson’s vocals rise up on “Tobacco Two Step,” a new take on an aching ballad, asking boldly, “Did I miss my man? Did he miss me too? Did he just pass me by—When I was wasting my time waiting on you?” Her songwriting is cutting and brilliant, both painfully honest and beautiful in a freeing way, bringing to mind those who came before, like Lucinda Williams and Loretta Lynn. There’s a brilliance driving “God In Everything,” as Williamson reflects on her ability to follow her own path, singing, “When I’m sayin’ my prayers / I still bleed with the moon… guess I’m going my own way too.” 

Closing track “Roads” reads like a love letter from Jess to herself, acknowledging a new love providing inspiration, but at the same time, there is a reassurance in the lyrics that she can stand alone, finding her footing within freedom. Growth blooms in the track through gentle pianos and guitars, blossoming into a billowing melody of saxophone and clarinet. As Williamson sings, “I have a love of freedom / I guess I always did / Was a runner as a child / And now I’m doing this,” it becomes clear that through her obstacles she has found solace within the reliability of herself. On Time Ain’t Accidental, Williamson creates a canvas of empowerment, encouraging a look inward, and a love for our own delicate souls.

Label: Mexican Summer

Year: 2023

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