A lot has changed since Jess Cornelius began writing the songs that would comprise Distance.
For starters, she moved halfway around the world from Melbourne, Australia to Los Angeles. At the time, Cornelius had a few new songs and the idea of finally making a record of her own, excited to start fresh after several years as the primary songwriter in the Melbourne-based outfit Teeth and Tongue.
But the distance that Cornelius addresses over the course of these 10 songs is hardly a geographical one. Instead, the album — her solo debut on Part Time Records — finds a deft songwriter analysing the space between society’s expectations for her and her own dreams; between the illusion of love and the reality of disappointment; between a past she is ready to let go of and a future she could have hardly imagined.
As Cornelius puts it, “A lot of the record was about me deciding to continue this nomadic lifestyle of being a musician. I wrote about coming to terms with that reality. People would ask me if I was going to have a family and a lot of the songs are about me being okay with not pursuing that path. It was about coming to terms with the choices I had made.”
She adds with a laugh, “And then two years later, I’m knocked up and married. I couldn’t have imagined that.”
The album’s sounds and tones were selected with great care. Cornelius says it was important for the album to reflect the local music scene of her new home. With the help of producer Tony Buchen — another Australian transplant who approached Cornelius after a show at Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater — Distance became a roving affair, recorded in a string of Los Angeles studios with a changing cast of friends and local musicians.
The album features contributions by Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), harpist Mary Lattimore, Emily Elhaj (Angel Olsen), Stephanie Drootin (Bright Eyes), Jesse Quebbeman-Turley (Hand Habits), whistler Molly Lewis and special appearances by Justin Sullivan (Night Shop, Kevin Morby) and Laura Jean Anderson.
Release: July 24, 2020, Part Time Records/Remote Control
Words: Remote Control