Jess Williamson’s performance was reviewed positively for her smooth vocals and optimistic outlook.

Estimated read time 2 min read


As Jess Williamson takes the stage in a bustling Lexington, a solemn silence descends. Her attire resembles that of a trendy hipster who stumbled upon the Little House on the Prairie. Tonight, she performs solo with just her guitar – occasionally accompanied by her iPhone playing demo drum beats that were incorporated into her latest album.

The album, Time Ain’t Accidental, is the fifth solo release from the artist and marks a shift towards a more positive outlook compared to her previous work, which often evoked feelings of sadness. After years of performing country-folk-influenced music, she was on the verge of a major breakthrough when the pandemic halted everything. Despite this setback, she remains optimistic, even asking those who are shorter and stuck in the back of the crowd to join her on stage where there is plenty of space. “I think it would be lovely,” she says. “It can get lonely up here.” However, no one takes her up on the offer.

It could be described as a British tendency towards reserve, but why would anyone choose to sit behind the speakers and miss out on the full impact of Williamson’s velvety voice? After each line, she retreats from the microphone, as if hesitating to reveal more of herself. The most powerful moments in her songs are when she sings with a hint of a country sneer, from the corner of her mouth. On “Ponies in Town,” she sings of the luxury of being able to afford high-end eggs, using her voice to seamlessly shift between a deep, intimate tone and airy, flute-like trills. As she pulls back to play guitar solos, she moves with the music as if dancing in a ballroom.

In the second act, she finally brings out the iPhone drums, even though she has been dancing like she’s missing them. On the song “God in Everything,” it has a jarring effect similar to a Christian band performing at a school assembly. However, on “Time Ain’t Accidental,” the drums are almost necessary for the song’s energy and romantic lyrics. It fills the room like a firework before she returns to a quieter tone to end the set. She began with “Sorceress,” where she assured us that she is not one, but the following hour proved otherwise. There is a bit of magic in her performance, and she shared it with us tonight.


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