Nashville-based Americana singer-songwriter Jess Jocoy has released her debut full-length album, Such a Long Way, earlier this month. The album was produced by Michael Rinne (Miranda Lambert) and Dylan Alldredge (Mary Gauthier, Joy Williams, Leon Bridges) and recorded at Skinny Elephant Recording in Nashville.
With a crystalline veracity in her uniquely authentic songs, Jocoy constructs eloquent narratives that drift between the poetic and the conversational, which some have called “Jason Isbell meets Emmylou Harris.”
“The biggest truth in this record is my journey,” Jocoy says of her refined yet rootsy album.
While Such a Long Way’s songs don’t always tell her story, they certainly show her progress. From the big picture pep talk that is “Existential Crossroads” to the father-son stand-off of “Castles Made of Sand” through the tender reminder of “Hope,” Such a Long Way showcases a thoroughly literate young songwriter finding her voice and staking her claim with equal parts grit, grace, and gravitas. In an Americana music community brimming with talent, Such a Long Way is an impressive effort for someone who only just a couple years ago committed to pursuing music full-time, after a lifetime of dreaming that dream.
At the craggy core of Such a Long Way lives the search to find one’s place in the world, and it readily infuses the earthy stride of “Somebody Somewhere,” the vibey shuffle of “Long Way Home,” and the quiet testament of “Hope (Such A Long Way).” Of the latter, Jocoy says, “The entire piece is based on what I needed to hear — from God, from myself, whomever. This song is about me: If I don’t tell myself I’m a bird, I will never fly. I’ve worn sorrow like a coat, and it’s hard to shake it off.” Grief, gratitude, living, and learning collide in one of the reoccurring themes of Such a Long Way: mercy. “‘Mercy’ is such a powerful word — small but mighty,” Jocoy offers. “It can dictate a lot, like what kind of person you are. I’ve been shown so much mercy throughout the course of my life. That and grace have brought me to where I am today.”