Jess Williamson’s “Time Ain’t Accidental” revels in a new connection

The country singer shares a new video and chats with The FADER ahead of the arrival of her new album.

May 23, 2023
Jess Williamson’s “Time Ain’t Accidental” revels in a new connection Jackie Lee Young

As one half of Plains alongside Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield, Jess Williamson released one of last year's most absorbing and nostalgic country records. I Walked With You a Ways opened the Texan songwriter up to a new audience, and on June 9, she will follow it up with her latest solo album. Time Ain't Accidental is a bittersweet collection of songs that deal with heartbreak, recovery, and new beginnings with wit and a bracing openness. There's a subtle, conversational style to Williamson's songwriting and voice that feels more like talking to a friend than being performed to.


That intimacy is present in the album title track, the video for which is premiering below. Written about the honeymoon period of a new relationship, the song is giddy and romantic without losing all perspective about the future. Williamson sings of her new partner, "I have a life somewhere real far away / You wouldn’t make a lick of sense in that place." It's the kind of realism you can only really gain only with time. Elsewhere, Williamson's delicate melodies illuminate the little details, from the references to roses to a cheeky mention of "his face between my legs."

Williamson spoke to The FADER about the song and its video, and passed on some excellent listening recommendations. Check it out below.


The FADER: What does "Time Ain't Accidental" mean to you and what feeling did you want to capture when you wrote it?


Jess Williamson: This song is the true story of a really special day when I was falling in love with the person who is now my partner. I wanted to capture that feeling of those early butterfly moments, when you are first connecting with someone and it's such a thrill.

The "Time Ain't Accidental" video was shot in one take. Was it challenging to shoot? One wrong move and you have to start over right…

We had planned to capture an epic sunset shot for the video, but when we went out on the shoot day it was raining. We waited in our cars hoping the clouds would break, but as it got later in the day it was obvious that we weren't getting a sunset and we thought we’d have to come back on a different day. I told the guys let's run it once since we're all here, maybe it will just be a good practice if nothing else. And then that one shot ended up being the take! It was perfect because without realizing it we had brought the album cover to life. That was definitely a “no accidents” moment, which feels pretty perfect for this song.


You namecheck Raymond Carver in the song. What's the best novel of his to read by the pool bar?

I was reading Where I’m Calling From: Selected Stories by that particular pool bar, which is a collection of his short stories. It's a little dark. To be honest he's not the greatest pool read.

How does it feel to return to telling your own story after your more character-based work as one half of Plains with Katie Crutchfield?


It’s nice! It feels like coming home to “me” in a way, speaking in my own specific voice.

Did you learn anything from making the Plains record that made its way into this album?

I learned that less is more and that sometimes the best songwriting is the most simple and straightforward.


Time Ain't Accidental was written after a significant break-up. Have you reckoned with how that changes your relationship to your older songs? I'm thinking of songs like "Love’s Not Hard to Find" or the title track from Sorceress, for example.

Absolutely, and that’s where the first couple lines of my song "Chasing Spirits" come from. It opens with that question, “Are my love songs lies now that the love is gone?”. Ultimately I have made peace with and even embraced the reality that the meanings of my songs will change for me over the years and there is something really beautiful to me about the songs evolving with time.

The album feels like something that people will take real strength from in similar circumstances to those in which it was written. Which artists/ albums have helped you through these past few years?


I hope so. Here are a few of the albums that have meant the most to me over the last couple years:

Tidiane Thiam, Siftorde
North Americans, Going Steady
Lana Del Rey, Chemtrails Over the Country Club
Frantz Casseus, Hatian Dances
Charley Crockett, The Man From Waco
Willie Nelson, Red Headed Stranger
The Chicks, Fly
Aldous Harding, Designer
Terry Allen, Lubbock on Everything

Jess Williamson’s “Time Ain’t Accidental” revels in a new connection