JESS WILLIAMSON – about the song

Foto-© Kathryn Vetter Miller

Jess Williamson ist so etwas wie unsere Entdeckung des Monats, wobei wir natürlich den Vorteil haben jetzt schon in den Genuss ihres neuen Albums Sorceress, das am 15. Mai via Mexican Summer erscheinen wird, gekommen zu sein. Doch letztlich war es bei der Texanerin, die auf ihrem neuen Album in die großen Fußstapfen von Acts wie Angel Olsen, Fleetwood Mac oder Ane Brun tritt, so etwas wie Liebe beim ersten Hören. Nämlich aufgrund der Single Wind on Tin, weshalb wir die Songwriterin gefragt haben, ob sie uns die Geschichte hinter dem Song näher bringen könnte. Und das hat sie – Jess Williamson über unseren Lieblingssong, Wind on Tin!

Wind on Tin is a song about my experience of traveling to the remote desert town of Marfa, Texas to attend a memorial service for a friend who passed away. Marfa is a place that I’ve been returning to for nearly half my life, and I briefly lived there while writing my last album, Cosmic Wink. My grandfather was in the Army Air Corp and was stationed in the barracks in Marfa during World War II. The minimalist artist Donald Judd later purchased the barracks to house his site-specific large-scale art pieces, and the compound is now called the Chinati Foundation, after a nearby mountain range. My mom has memories of playing there as a child when it was completely abandoned, picking up horny toads in the desert before most of them disappeared. 

Marfa is a very important place to me with a deep tug on my heart; a sentiment I know is shared by many. To have these grounding places we can go back to, these touchstones in our lives, is a real gift for the soul, and we move through them each time as different versions of ourselves – a wide eyed tourist, a resident, an employee, a musician on tour, a mourner, just visiting – and the places themselves are always changing and growing as well, for better or for worse. 

Grief has a way of making the veil between worlds very thin. Prior to the memorial service, I was sitting on a porch passing around a guitar and drinking beers with a few very dear people in my life who I look up to greatly and who were very close to the person who had passed. We heard an unexplainable sound in the wind that made us all pause. Like a flute, but more angelic. It kept going. We tried, unsuccessfully, to record it. The sound was indescribably beautiful and heavenly. “Was it the angels singing just for us, or is that what the wind out here does on tin?” Regardless of the answer, I know that for that brief moment we were lucky initiates into the mystery realm, and I’m deeply grateful. 

I co-directed the video with my dear friend Eli Welbourne, someone I’ve collaborated with musically and visually for over ten years now. Fun fact – Eli played synths on my very first self released EP back in 2011, which I recorded in his garage in Austin. We chose iconic locations around Los Angeles (or perhaps the world?)  – cemeteries, houses of worship, the natural world, places of transit, and more abstract interior spaces – and I sang and danced and emoted the song probably close to 100 times. We encouraged passers by to walk in front of the camera, we shot almost entirely without permission, and our goal was to make a video that spoke in a universal sense to the beauty and the heartbreak of the human experience – the Dance of Life. 

I am part of a long lineage of “hysterical women”. Women like me were burned at the stake for their visions, their healing, their sexuality, their intuition. As the chorus repeats I heard God, its equal parts crazed rambling and divine connection. Is our narrator insane or onto something or both? The whirling dance in the video parallels this kind of confusion. 

Wind on Tin is a song that asks questions, because when we enter the realm of mystery, the questions themselves are our only touchstones.  The work here is to remain open and receptive to the dance itself, and if we’re lucky, the mysteries unfold.

YouTube video


Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!

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