Wish You Were Here is the moniker of LA-based musician, Jesse Barnett, and today he’s announcing his debut full-length, I’m Afraid of Everything. Due out September 27th, I’m Afraid of Everything is an impressive debut, fully realized and driven by lush atmospheres and Barnett’s warm, soulful vocals. The songs often begin with gently picked guitar before blossoming into compelling arrangements highlighted by understated drums and layered harmonies, striking a fine balance between intimate and ornate.
To celebrate the announcement BrooklynVegan has premiered “Five Roses” an album highlight that starts with softly looped electronics and acoustic strumming and gives way to a sweeping chorus. BrooklynVegan praised Barnett and called the track, “a hushed, atmospheric indie folk song that sounds closer to 2011-era Bon Iver than to the heavier music that Jesse is most famous for. Jesse is already a pro at this kind of thing…”
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For Barnett, Wish You Were Here is part reinvention, part catharsis, and part fresh start. While Barnett is mainly known for his work in punk and hardcore (fronting bands like Stick To Your Guns and Trade Wind) Wish You Were Here couldn’t be more sonically different. The project’s origins go back to Barnett’s earliest musical roots, falling in love with the work of songwriters like Paul Simon, James Taylor, and Bill Withers at a young age. This fascination with classic songwriting preceded his introduction to punk rock and engrained Barnett’s musical DNA with the idea that volume is not the only way to achieve impactful, compelling songs. At the start Wish You Were Here was less of an intentional project and more of a necessary response to personal upheaval–an outlet to find solace and process feelings through art. Recorded over the course of two winters the album documents Barnett wrestling with the inevitability of change, trying to make peace with uncertainty, and inadvertently finding a creative new beginning.
Wish You Were Here has also announced a record release show on September 28th at The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, CA.