Red Wing VIII Artist
Miss Tess has always been known for creating an eclectic array of vintage blues, country, and jazz sounds. Currently residing in Nashville, she finds no shortage of inspiration in the roots scene there. However varied Tess’ music can be, front and center sits her voice that has been described as “alternately seductive and sexy, and a pure joy to listen to” (Pop Matters). Her music is further heightened by her partner, Thomas Bryan Eaton, who helps to shape the songs and arrangements with a deft touch on guitar & pedal steel. No slouch herself, Tess brings along her Weymann archtop guitar, often trading leads with Thomas.
This past winter the two teamed up with veteran producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff) at his studio in East Nashville to create a new record that both reaches back to Tess’ roots, yet also signals a new chapter in her career. The record, to be titled “The Moon is an Ashtray”, is getting its finishing touches and will be released Feb 7.
In over a decade of touring Miss Tess has won fans from New York City to New Orleans and Alabama to Alaska. Over the years she has shared the stage with the likes of Lake Street Dive, NRBQ, The Holmes Brothers, Eilen Jewell, and Todd Snider. Her band has graced stages at Blissfest, Cayamo, Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Floydfest, Ossippee Valley Music Festival, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Burlington Jazz Festival, Green River Festival, Red Wing Roots, Shakori Hills, and more. Miss Tess’s music has been heard from coast to coast on taste maker programs such as XM/Sirius’s The Loft, NPR’s Folk Alley, Santa Cruz’s KPIG and Boston’s WUMB. Her 2016 album, “Baby, We All Know” lived in the top 20 on the Americana Charts for six weeks.
Miss Tess grew up in Maryland, where she took piano lessons at an early age. She went to college in Baltimore, intending to be a graphic artist. While there, she dabbled in guitar, but it wasn’t until the end of her studies that she began taking it seriously. Once she became more interested in becoming a musician, she started studying jazz and writing songs, and put together her first band. Having grown up listening to her parents’ bands playing big band swing, folk, country and dixieland music, rootsy styles came naturally to her.
After a move to Boston, Miss Tess took a few classes at Berklee College of Music and formed a new band with a few fellow jazz students. Miss Tess quickly established herself as a songwriter and performer in the storied Boston music scene, playing regularly at local clubs.
Over four years she won a Boston Music Award, and was nominated several other times in the Folk and Jazz categories of the BMAs, as well as the New England Music Awards. Miss Tess later moved to Brooklyn for a 5 year stint in the big city, followed by a move to Nashville, where she is currently based. She has since developed her sound to include more classic country, rockabilly and vintage rock ‘n’ roll, all combining into her ever-developing sense of self and eclectic taste in American roots music.
Miss Tess has been releasing albums and leading a band for over a decade, spanning her career over many different cities including Baltimore, Boston, NYC, and her new home base of Nashville, TN. Straddling her move from New York to Nashville, the new album was recorded in both cities. The recording cast includes her steady band mate and co-producer, Thomas Bryan Eaton, producer Dan Knobler (Rodney Crowell, Tift Merritt), Robin Macmillan, Jake Silver (Lee Fields), Roy Williams, Stefan Zenuik, Eric Frey (The Revelers), Dominic Billet (Andrew Combs), Kai Welch, John Pahmer, Aaron Shaffer-Haiss, Oliver Craven (The Stray Birds), Maya De Vitry (The Stray Birds) and Caitlin Canty.
A follow up to 2012’s Sweet Talk and 2013’s The Love I Have for You, both released on Signature Sounds Recordings, 2016’s Baby, We All Know was released independently and received accolades in the press as well as reaching the Top 20 in AMA Radio Charts and being included in the top 100 albums of the year for 2016.
As she expands and grows more into her own sound, Tess is still hard to categorize. She says “Many times after the show somebody will come up to compliment the band and ask me what kind of music we just played. After mumbling through a few different genres I usually just tell them it’s my music and hope they enjoyed the show”. Enjoyable is just what her music is, propelled by the classic quality of Tess’s vocals, compelling and totally believable. The production throughout is the right balance of punch and rhythm, without getting in the way of the vocals or songwriting, giving this collection of songs a plentiful dose of old-school swagger. Time after time, Miss Tess is able to utilize sounds and styles from a past era combined with modern sensibilities to present an authentic and engaging presence.