Joshua Kadison, “Jessie” and Trailers by the Sea

When I wrote about the three Jimmy Webb songs recorded by Glen Campbell last summer (link here), I had a plan to at some point take a journey around the 50 States of the USA in song – Wichita Lineman was set in Kansas, Galveston in Texas and By The Time I Get To Phoenix in Arizona. Off the top of my head, and just for starters, there is also Anchorage by Michelle Shocked and Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd both set in States that start with the letter “A”, so no shortage of material.

One song that I discovered by accident is one that I very much associate with the State of Nevada. I don’t know what I was doing in 1993 when this song was released as I don’t remember it from then at all, but a good few years ago when we were on one of those family holidays where entertainment is laid on at night, first for the kids and then for the worn-out parents, a chap with a guitar got up and performed some very acceptable covers. I knew most of the songs he played, but not this one, and it really struck a cord. Jessie by Joshua Kadison is very much a “story song” and I was really touched by the narrator’s tale of how every time he got back on his feet again, Jessie would call with the promise that this time it would be different, this time the dream would come true. The dream was to have a trailer by the sea, drink tequila, collect seashells…. and Jessie was an expert at “painting pictures of how it’s gonna be”.

Jessie by Joshua Kadison:

Did he just humour her or did he yet again succumb to the promises? Who knows but interesting to have the tables turned whereby it is the female who is making all the promises and not the male, as is usually the case (in a song). As for the State of Nevada, Jessie calls from a “phone booth in Vegas” which conjures up images of the Sin City side of the self-billed Entertainment Capital of the World – It’s very late, Jessie is possibly a little inebriated and obviously tired of whatever she does there to earn her living, so resorts to what we girls often do at such times, contacts an old boyfriend. Surrounding the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas is the Nevada desert so not surprisingly she dreams of something quite different, a beach with white sand and seashells.

I really knew nothing of Joshua Kadison before hearing this song, and even with the resources of the world wide web at my fingertips still know very little other than that he was born in Los Angeles in 1963 to an actress mother, started playing piano and writing songs at the age of 12 and before releasing the album “Painted Desert Serenade” in 1993 dated the actress Sarah Jessica Parker (of Sex And The City fame). They apparently broke up before he recorded this song but of course there was speculation that the song was about her. I doubt it however as SJP, or rather her alter-ego Carrie Bradshaw, is a bit of a hero of mine and there is no way her Manolo Blahniks would navigate a beach anywhere, nor would she have a cat called Moses. Just sayin’.


Family holidays can ironically be quite hard work, but there is often some time at the end of the day to unwind with your tipple of choice and perhaps listen to some live music. This is the song I remember best from that particular holiday but looking back over the years just about every holiday had a memorable musical moment – Another idea for a new series has developed it seems!

Until next time….

Jessie Lyrics
(Song by Peter Fitch Grant)

From a phone booth in Vegas Jessie calls at five a.m.
To tell me how she’s tired of all of them
She says, “Baby, I’ve been thinking about a trailer by the sea
We could go to Mexico; you, the cat and me
We’ll drink tequila and look for seashells
Now doesn’t that sound sweet”
Oh Jessie you always do this every time I get back on my feet

Jessie paint your pictures
About how it’s gonna be
By now I should know better
Your dreams are never free
But tell me all about our little trailer by the sea
Oh Jessie you can always sell any dream to me
Oh Jessie you can always sell any dream to me

She asked me how the cat’s been
I say “Moses, he’s just fine”
But he used to think about you, all the time
We finally took your pictures down off the wall
Jessie, how do you always seem to know just when to call
She says “Get your stuff together, bring Moses and drive real fast”
And I listened to her promise
“I swear to God this time it’s gonna last”

Jessie paint your pictures
About how it’s gonna be
By now I should know better
Your dreams are never free
But tell me all about our little trailer by the sea
Oh Jessie you can always sell any dream to me
Oh Jessie you can always sell any dream to me
Oh Jessie you can always sell any dream to me

I’ll love you in the sunshine
Lay you down in the warm, white sand
And who knows maybe this time
Things will turn out just the way you planned

Jessie paint your pictures
About how it’s gonna be
By now I should know better
Your dreams are never free
But tell me all about our little trailer by the sea
Oh Jessie you can always sell any dream to me
Oh Jessie you can always sell any dream to me


Sarah Jessica Parker aka Carrie Bradshaw aka Mrs Ferris Bueller!

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

12 thoughts on “Joshua Kadison, “Jessie” and Trailers by the Sea”

    1. Hi – A lovely song I thought but certainly not a big hit. A lot of album covers in the same vein over the years though especially in the ’70s so perhaps you are thinking of a generic “deserty” style of cover!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Another favourite of mine, though it’s one that will irk the musos, I guarantee you. Musos hate anyone with a shaggy perm in the music industry. It goes against their finer sensibilities.

    Glad you enjoyed my Wichita Lineman story.


    1. I suspected as much and didn’t expect much traffic for this post but one of the “tracks of my years” so went for it – Note to self: musos don’t like (amongst other things) shaggy perms.

      Really liked your WL story but possibly ended up gushing about it a bit too much – sorry. When someone revisits a song in that way though, you hear it with new ears.


    1. Yes it’s on the long list of “posts pending” but could be fun – Along with songs from holidays (there was always one that you took back as a defining memory) also on the “posts pending” list!


  2. I’ve often thought about the 50 State Challenge – reckon I could post a song about most of them
    A series for the future perhaps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you could – They would probably be very different from my songs however so how about we both do a series – Definitely one for the not too distant future.


  3. As others have said above, love the sound of your posts pending, the 50 States in song and the musical moments from holidays with accompanying photos – great stuff!

    Also I think that a hatred of shaggy perms in the music industry should count as one of those things that Bill Bryson calls a ‘reflex loathing’ – he says everyone is entitled to have 12 things they hate for no real reason, something difficult to justify, that other people might disagree with, but which you simply just can’t bear. So I’ll make that one of mine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi – I have always shied away from doing a series as I tend to be a more spontaneous blogger but this one does sound like fun. Was reading my way round the 50 States in 2015 but when I took up blogging that kind of went on hiatus (stopped at Michigan) – I have a map of the route I was going to take however that took in all 50 so could use it for this instead!

      Oh I do love Bill Bryson and like that term he came up with – he has a point. Ironically I actually didn’t know what Joshua Kadison looked like until I tried to source a video for this post and once I watched it was in two minds about including it for the very reasons mentioned. For some reason I had always thought it was one of those “deserty” kind of songs championed by the Eagles et al and thought he was from their era. Oh well, we live and learn.


  4. Hello, Alyson!

    I stumbled upon your blog this morning while wondering “Whatever happened to Joshua Kadison?” While I haven’t found that answer just yet, I enjoyed your commentary on “Jessie”. That said, I do have a bit of an update on Jessie and the trailer by the sea. Turns out they never made, but they did end up together, presumably in Georgia…

    “Jessie” was the first song on the album and Kadison finishes up the story with “Georgia Rain”, the last song on the same album:

    There was a trailer down by the sea
    Down in Mexico
    We dreamed a lot about it
    But we never did go
    Some dreams are better from afar
    That’s just how things are
    And everything’s alright
    ‘Cause Jessie’s singin’ me to sleep tonight

    Sadly, there’s no update on how Moses the cat is doing, but hey, with one story from one artist over two songs on one album, you’ve got both a Nevada song and a potential Georgia song for the state list. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there Ry – Just found your comment in “spam” this morning so sorry for the delay in replying.

      Thanks very much for the update on what happened with the narrator of the song and “Jessie”. When you only write about individual songs as I do, the next chapter might be overlooked. Glad they ended up together but who knows if Moses the cat joined them? Presumably yes.

      Lots of potential Georgia songs for my series which is well under way, but you are right, here is another.

      Quite a lot of traffic directed towards this post so if any visitors read down to these comments boxes, they too will now find out “whatever happened to that trailer by the sea”! Thanks for dropping by.


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