Katie Crutchfield: I had the exact same experience. I almost wonder if, for any music-loving adult, it’s just universal that you reject the music of your parents and your childhood, and then you inevitably circle back. It just is part of life.

Williamson: One of my favorite Willie Nelson lyrics is from the song “Shotgun Willie”: “You can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothing to say.” I think about that so much. I think indie rock and country are both genres where this level of “authenticity” is required to be accepted. Me and Katie were just raised on that country stuff. We kind of rejected it for a long time—Katie went more punk and, for me, more indie and folk. We came back to it almost inevitably—like, it’s in us.

Crutchfield: What I’m hearing when I hear Sorceress is somebody who grew up listening to Shania Twain. It’s an indie record through and through, but this person’s voice, worldview, energy, and aura is giving Shania to me—or the Chicks, or Trisha Yearwood, or Loretta, Tammy, Dolly, and all of that.

Jess, you’ve talked about the pressure of everything being about your story when it comes to your own work—how did both of you feel about more character-based songwriting?

Williamson: In the first Plains writing session, we talked a lot about how it was OK if the details change, because the capital-T Truth is actually what’s more important with this project. There’s this central character that is weaving through these situations. It’s not just me, and it’s not just Katie—it’s this other bigger thing. It was really freeing to approach songwriting that way.

Crutchfield: The whole experience of writing for Plains was a cool exercise in strengthening certain songwriting muscles. It felt nice to consciously make the choice of not telling my life story in specific detail. Jess brought in the first couple of songs, “Summer Sun” and “No Record of Wrongs,” which were about a similar situation in Jess’ life. Then I wrote “Problem With It” from hearing Jess talk about that experience and listening to the lyrics that she wrote. It’s not from my own experience, it’s just trying to find a way to marry the perspectives and write from a unified perspective.


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The vocal harmonies are such a prominent presence on this record. What is it that you enjoy most about singing together?

Crutchfield: The whole idea of making the album started with the harmonies. What we really want is to sing together—to do three-part harmonies, four-part harmonies, make harmony a big part of it. People always react to harmony as a listener, but for anyone who sings, the most satisfying feeling on Earth is to sing harmony with somebody. At the root of all of it is a desire to do that together.