Mixtape Monday: Jess Williamson

Happy Monday and welcome to what is hopefully going to be the best 10 minute break in your day so far! Today we have the ever talented, and stylish Jess Williamson helping soothe your Monday blues with some upbeat, melancholy, jazzy, folk tunes. Jess is a musician in Austin (listen here), and she is also a talented photographer (see here). She just played a show on November 7th with Balmorhea in Austin, but if you happen to be like me and missed that, I recommend sitting down for a bit and listening here

Keep scrolling to listen and read about the seven songs Jess has on a regular rotation. 


1. “Gloria” – Patti Smith

This song opens with the totally iconic line: Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.  Originally written by Van Morrison, Patti Smith’s version of Gloria has been my summer jam along with the rest of the tracks on her record Horses, which I like listening to while I’m running, which isn’t super often, so I also listen to it in the car and at home.

 2. "Come Out Singing"- Lavender Country

Who doesn’t love fun, openly gay country music? Waking up to say hip hip hooray I’m glad I’m gay is the first line to this happy feel good song.  This is a good song for weeding out idiots. Just put it on and if anyone thinks it’s weird then they are not worthy of your friendship. It’s basically the female armpit hair of songs.

  3.  “We Danced All Night” – Lewis Baloue 

Everyone is excited about this newly unearthed music from the mysterious and elusive Lewis Baloue. A record collector found his album, Romantic Times, in the used bin of a record store somewhere. Originally released in 1983 as a private pressing, the label Light in the Attic reissued the album this year thinking that Lewis Baloue was dead. After the reissue gained so much popularity, the label owners learned that he was still alive, and they found him sitting outside of a Starbucks in Canada dressed in all white. They had money for him from the record sales but he wouldn’t take any of it. They won’t repress the record because Lewis won’t accept the money, so you should probably buy it while you still can. This music is so good and pleasant. The world is a sad, dark place but when I listen to Romantic Times everything seems a little more okay.

4.  “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” – Nina Simone

This song kills me. This song is perfect. I love Nina Simone and I love her voice. When she sings this song it’s like you can see her face straining to hold back her tears. Music is cool because there are all kinds of songs: happy songs, fun songs, dance songs, sexy songs, party songs, meditation songs, worship songs, the lists goes on. But for me, the best songs are the ones that make you cry. This is a crying song.

5.  “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On” – Leonard Cohen

There is a Leonard Cohen song for every season of life, and this is my current Leonard jam. I think this is a fun and catchy tune, and actually I thought the title was ‘Don’t Go Home with your Heart On’ until I looked up the lyrics for this blog post. I have a totally new opinion of this song but I still love it. 

6.  “Return of the Grievous Angel” – Gram Parsons 

I got to see Emmylou Harris in concert this summer in NYC, and her voice is as beautiful as ever. I am really into this song right now because Emmylou’s harmonies are so powerful and good, and I am finally learning how to harmonize. She elevates what could have been a forgettable song into something canonical and soul crushing. When she comes in with that voice it’s like time stops.

7. “Angel from Montgomery” – Bonnie Raitt

This is my all time favorite song and a huge fixture in the Williamson family household. My mom raised me on Bonnie Raitt and I have probably been able to sing every word to this song since I was 10 years old. John Prine wrote it, but Bonnie Raitt recorded this song and made it famous. Two years ago, I saw Bonnie Raitt in concert at a casino in Oklahoma, along with my mom and two of my closest friends. When she played this song we all put our arms around each other and sang every word and cried.

If you are feeling like you need to listen to this playlist in it's entirety, we feel you- click here

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Image Credit: Jess's Facebook Page