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Miss Tess will be in Salem on Thursday.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Miss Tess has passed through Southwest Virginia a few times, accompanied by a swinging band and the mystery of a missing last name.
Tess, who brings her latest act, the Talkbacks, to Parkway Brewing Co. in Salem on Thursday, laughs when asked if she’s staving off stalkers.
“It is not very widely known,” she said of her name. “I definitely have some good friends who don’t even know my last name, which seems maybe odd to some folks. But you know, it’s just kind of who I am. I always tell people I don’t have a last name.”
What she has is a distinctive guitar style influenced by jazz six-string pioneers Freddie Greene, Charlie Christian and Mary Osborne, and a vocal style that lends itself well to jazz, country or rock ’n’ roll.
Where her old band, Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade, was more of a swing act, her new band, the Talkbacks, is mining early eras of country, rock 'n’ roll and Louisiana swamp grooves, along with the jazz. Gone are the horns. In is a second guitarist.
“I think when I started the band in Boston, I did for a while just want to be a jazz singer,” said Tess, who these days lives in New York City. “ There’s just a lot of other things coming into the mix, as you can hear on the ‘Sweet Talk’ album.”
“Sweet Talk” is the band’s latest, and a brand new EP, “The Love I Have for You,” is in production. The band is not sure whether it will have copies, but it will perform songs from that EP of some favorite cover songs, Tess said.
Visit blogs.roanoke.com/cutnscratch to hear a podcast with Tess. She discusses her musical background and we stream music from her latest album, “Sweet Talk.”
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