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Loma's self-titled debut reveals a band obsessed with songs as sound. There are endless details to discover here, stoked by the album's urgent and searching lyrical themes (exquisitely delivered by the translucent voice of Emily Cross); and on headphones, the album feels both intimate and expansive, like casting your eyes over a detailed painting on a vast canvas.
It's also the product of a joint pilgrimage around the globe by fellow touring musicians. Jonathan Meiburg is best known as the singer of Shearwater; Cross and the multi-instrumentalist and engineer Dan Duszynski form Cross Record, originally from Chicago. They met through Ben Goldberg (of Badabing! records, who helped launch the careers of Tune-Yards, Beirut, and Sharon Van Etten), who sent Meiburg Cross Record's 2015 album Wabi-Sabi, which led to the two bands traveling together across America and Europe throughout Shearwater's 2016 tour for Jet Plane and Oxbow, often crammed into the same van. The tour was Cross Record's first, but Meiburg was shocked by their maturity and confidence. «I couldn't believe all that sound was coming out of two people,» he says. «They had their own world, their own rules, and they slayed every night. They were mesmerizing.»
A few years back, Jess Williamson returned home to her native Texas to reconsider everything and rethink the direction of her life. It was that about-face that gave her the security and solitude, the inspiration, needed to create 2014’s highly acclaimed debut album, Native State.
But that was two years ago.
Williamson’s sophomore album, Heart Song, questions the structures of support inherent in the comforts of home and showcases the rare kind of artistry that is the hardest to achieve after early success: change.
The opening song, “Say It”, eases the listener into a groove before the song cracks open and floods the landscape with squall and noise and thunder; announcing that Heart Song is not the same album as it’s predecessor, that this work is not only the next logical step in Williamson’s evolution, it is also a leap forward for her as an artist.