If you take a look through his family tree, one thing becomes abundantly clear: Henry Jamison was born to write songs. There’s his father, a classical composer, and his mother, an English professor, who both inspired and encouraged him directly, but if you continue tracing Jamison’s lineage back even further, some interesting names start to turn up.
With his stunning debut album, ‘The Wilds,’ Jamison is ready to share that development with the world and claim his place as the latest in a long line of remarkable storytellers. Blending delicate acoustic guitar and banjo with programmed percussion loops and synthesizers, the Vermont songwriter grapples with the jarring dissonances of contemporary life on the record as he struggles to reconcile the clashes between our inner and outer selves, the natural world and our fabricated society.
MiLLENNiAL caught up with Henry Jamison to learn a bit more about his transcendental music.
1. You’ve been referred to as a “transcendentalist.” Why do you think that is and what would you say is signature about your music?
Really most songwriters could be described in that way, I think, in that transcendentalism emphasized subjective experience over looking at things from the outside. There isn’t really an empirical way of writing a song, so many mainstream ideas of what it is to be human just don’t hold when it comes to art, poetry and music maybe especially.
2. How did you get your start as a singer/songwriter/musician?
Just singing and making things up. It felt like the most fun thing to do and still feels that way. I talk to myself and sing to myself a lot. I try to be my own friend because I used to be so somber and saying funny shit to myself and singing got me out of a lot of melancholy over the years.
3. Name your three favorite sounds.
Wind in trees, silence, purple
4. Tell us about your upcoming LP ‘The Wilds.’ What themes or messages does it convey?
I don’t want to do violence to the images by explaining them. That’s my new angle and I think it’s a healthy one, but I also don’t want to disappoint. My songwriting has no particular, didactic goal, but it does try to conjure images in the mind’s eye as any song does. The song “The Wilds” is conceptually about listening to the feminine and observing its fluid relationship to nature, but the song doesn’t exist very compellingly on the conceptual plane, it exists in the images.
5. What are your immediate goals as an indie folk artist?
My immediate goal is to go to bed after a great tour of the UK and Ireland last week and to not get sick.
Be sure to follow Henry Jamison and check his show in a town near you.