Jamie Lin Wilson
Jumping Over Rocks
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Nov. 23, 2018
"All the children at the graveyard, they're just jumping over rocks," lilts Jamie Lin Wilson in casting out the title phrase to her sophomore album on the song "Death & Life." It's a stunningly simple yet profound line in a work full of them, capturing a dichotomy of perspectives based on unromantic reality. Whereas 2016 debut Holidays & Wedding Rings hung on Wilson's amber twang and easy rhythms – sounds defining her work in the Trishas and the Gougers – Jumping Over Rocks showcases exceptional songwriting and narratives that unfold patiently behind precise arrangements.
Opener "Faithful & True" tugs at an achingly slow and classic country sound, her keen sense of melody and powerful vocals recalling no less than Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris on "The Being Gone" and "Eyes for You." Recorded locally at Arlyn Studios, the D'Hanis-based singer culled top collaborators, including Charlie Sexton lending electric guitar and Jack Ingram and Turnpike Troubadours' Evan Felker offering co-writes and vocals. "Everybody's Moving Slow" sways like a back porch swing in closing out the album's frontside.
The best testament to the platter's coherence of articulation is how naturally Guy Clark's "Instant Coffee Blues" settles among Wilson's originals, particularly given Ingram's countering vocals. The racing rhythms of bad relationship escape "Run" and simple pleasures ode "In a Wink" sit awkwardly together at the close, but concluding tune "If I Told You" winds beautifully as a companion to the album's opening. Second solo offering, Jumping Over Rocks strikes a vein of songcraft graced by poetry and grit that matches the evocative voice of Jamie Lin Wilson.