Jess Williamson at Neptune’s, July 31

Date: July 31, 2018

Time: 9:30 pm

When love burst into being for Jess Williamson, it was a force so powerful that it seemed to redirect the sun, re-casting all of her life in new light. That’s how she tells her story across Cosmic Wink — her third album, and first for Mexican Summer — all of which came together in the midst of a series of transitions in her personal life.

In 2016, after living in Austin on and off for a decade, she left her home state of Texas for California. Deeply inspired by the move to Los Angeles and the bliss of new love, she rented a back house from an actor friend who was away on a movie and started writing the songs that eventually became Cosmic Wink. As she wrote, her beloved dog Frankie began going gray with old age.

All three of these seemingly dissimilar streams intersected to give Cosmic Wink a unified sound and feel. The openness of LA — and confronting the downbeat nature of her older songs while performing to hushed European crowds — challenged her supposition that “heartache, depression, and sadness” were “the only way to make interesting music,” as she puts it.

“You’re asking a lot if you expect an audience to be completely silent during your set and listen to every word. I started thinking about performing as something that could be fun, and having a good time playing with a band live, making songs that could be relatable to all kinds of people. I want my mom and her friends to like this album as much as someone with super obscure taste — and I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive.”

Meanwhile, watching Frankie fade into old age gave her a new appreciation of the passage of time — and inspired the album’s opening song, “I See the White.” “I noticed the graying of the fur around her eyes,” Williamson says, “and I realized that she was a physical manifestation of the passing of time, and it was heartbreaking. It’s so easy to act like we have all the time in the world, to feel immortal or invincible.”

Neptune’s
14 W Martin St.
Raleigh, NC 27601
919-896-7063
http://neptunesparlour.com/

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