In Review: Jessica Windsor Channels The Hardships & Beauty Of Young Love On Debut Album ‘Line In The Sand’

“I love to make songs about the reality, beauty, and difficulty of life,” says indie singer-songwriter Jessica Windsor. “To me, it’s a reminder that I’m alive.”

Released today, October 22nd, Windsor’s debut LP, Line in the Sand, is exactly that: a reminder of life’s everyday beauty and hardships, told in a way that is poetically honest.

Written entirely by Windsor, produced by her husband, and recorded in their home-base of Nashville, the record takes the listener on a journey of sheer honesty, exploring the various themes of a new marriage and both the gorgeousness and the difficulty of that milestone.

To drive these themes home, Line in the Sand was recorded entirely live, maintaining the integrity of performance and keeping the small mistakes. This makes for an 11-song tracklist that is entirely raw, transparent, and real. 

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The album opens with the titular track, “Line in the Sand”. The song’s instrumental, beginning as a looped piano riff, blossoms into a soaring, dreamy overlay that accents Windsor’s sincere vocals. With a vocal sound similar to Lucy Dacus or Sara Bareilles, Windsor’s lyrics open the LP with lines about finding your soulmate. The heartfelt lyrics and wondrous instrumental ebb and flow with one another to paint a picture for the listener: one that is golden and celestial, celebrating love in its purest form.

This soaring sound is true for the rest of the songs on the record. However, on “Fog”, which was Windsor’s first single preceding the album, she explores the more difficult themes of love: feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. The song begs questions of, “Is it my fault that you don’t love me how I want?” and “Will we be happier in time?” The track is synth-laden, lush, and full of yearning. At the song’s end, it crescendos to resolution in a realization of self-love and acceptance: “It’s not my fault that you can’t love me how I want,” she refrains.

“Frozen in the Stars” is a song that is something of a celestial waltz. With lyrics referencing outer space that could stand alone as a poem, the song is beautifully written and performed by Windsor. Its climax is ethereal, astrally professing love and devotion to Windsor’s partner. “Come A Little Bit My Way” has a sound that is more folk-traditional and cozy, with lyrical content that’s a bit more on the side of uncertainty. The song has a sound similar to Maggie Rogers, with a percussive drive and dreamy layers that tell the listener, “I’d rather have loved you than have let you slip away.”

“This album is everything I needed to say at the time – an honest look at a young person in the middle of a new marriage, and all the real life struggles, hardships, and beauty I found there. There were times it felt like the only way through, was to write it out. We recorded it live, kept the mistakes and messes, and tried to make something raw, like the lyrics,” Windsor says.

Line in the Sand closes with “How It Ends”, an anthem that welcomes the unknown and accepts the uncertainty of life. It’s all about the not knowing; since none of us have any guarantees in this life, we might as well love with everything we’ve got. The song’s final line, “Let’s all love like we know how it ends,” punctuates the album and all of its themes beautifully. It’s a simple command, but it rounds out all of the themes of young love and devotion- the good and the bad.

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