Back in 2018, the Austin singer-songwriter Jana Horn recorded her debut album Optimism in Texas. Horn self-released it in 2020 in a small run of vinyl, but No Quarter Records is giving it a more robust release later this month. It’s a good thing, too, because Optimism is an album that deserves to be heard. The songs are minimal bordering on skeletal, rendered gently but firmly, with a sense of calm yearning and vaguely haunted casual beauty. Here’s what Horn has to say about it:
Optimism seemed to come about indirectly, almost in passing, a feeling of being in-between things… I had just discovered, late, Raymond Carver, Broadcast, Sybil Baier (which “Tonight” is more or less dedicated to), Annette Peacock, Richard & Linda Thompson, a short story called “Car Crash While Hitchhiking” by Denis Johnson. I had “Heart Needs A Home” in mind, “The Great Valerio”; I was just really moving through the world, hanging in the shadows of the people I wanted to be. Hoping, looking out, this is Optimism. I was looking for anything.
Following the release of “Jordan” and “Optimism” last year, today Horn is sharing another quietly powerful advance single called “Time Machine.” Listen to all three tracks below.
Optimism is out 1/21 on No Quarter.