“Be My Jones” 7-inch America Hearts (Standout Track) For Jess Matthews, the road isn't always freeing

Listen:America Hearts

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No. 2, “Home,” a brief, nostalgic tune that sticks around just as long as it needs to—less than two minutes, most of which it spends quietly and innocently building up before tapering off. “I just feel like when I get done with what I’m trying to say, I don’t want to force another verse,” says songwriter Jess Matthews, who frequently toys with the tropes of Americana. “I understand structurally it may not be right, but I just want to stay true to what I want to say.”

Musical Motivation: For her lyrics, Matthews draws from transitional periods in her life. “Home,” she says, is “about when you’ve moved to a new place and it makes you think differently about the place you lived before and your experiences there.” Her reflections aren’t so sunny. “It’s like looking at that moment as kind of a dark time. You might’ve enjoyed yourself before, and in your new circumstances you don’t see it that way.”

Bringing it Mostly Back Home: Matthews has a solid local crew backing up her mission—Mark Cisneros (Medications, Gestures) plays guitar, Dischord veteran Justin Moyer (El Guapo, Edie Sedgwick) drums, and Olivia Mancini (Washington Social Club) plays bass. The quartet recorded the 7-inch, which the upstart Arlington label Yeah Gates! will release this fall, in the basement of Moyer’s home in Mount Pleasant. Trevor Kampmann of the band Holland mixed and mastered the single. And while America Hearts plays with familiar pop forms, its eccentricities are its own, Matthews says. “I hope to inspire people to be self-expressed no matter what,” she says. “If they have ideas that are silly or quirky or melancholy, they should just put them out there.”

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