We’re in the midst of an occult revival, in large part because people are searching for meaning. As the esoteric scholar Erik Davis wrote, “We turn to psychedelics, the occult, meditation, not just as another form of ideology, but because they reflect something true about the situation we’re in.” Magic is something that can live in chaos and make use of chaos, and these are chaotic times.
Jess Williamson’s Sorceress, her fourth album and second with Mexican Summer, arrives during this cultural moment. Fittingly, it addresses these issues via personal epiphany and offers revelation in the real sense of the word.
Across eleven country western prayers and pop incantations, Williamson melds the magical with the day-to-day, and makes it feel universal. On the title track, a gorgeous fireside ballad that finds her accompanied by the chirps of cicadas, she sings “Yes, there’s a little magic in my hat / But I’m no sorceress.” The thing is, she certainly sounds like one.
Sorceress is polished and assured and it hits immediately. The Texas singer and songwriter makes deeply felt songs that orbit around her powerful voice, a voice that’s strong and vulnerable, big-room flawless, quietly ecstatic, and next-to-you intimate. When she has something to say, even when it’s a kind of Dolly Parton whisper, you listen.
Offering a deep-hued kaleidoscope of dusty ‘70s cinema, ‘90s country music, and breezy West Coast psychedelia, Sorceress weaves a woman’s wild love letters to a confusing present and uncertain future. It’s a record about loss of innocence and acquired wisdom that’s self-critical, self-assured, and soul-searching.