Thursday May 16, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Armed with a new album that deftly traverses jazz, old-time country, swing and folk, Brooklyn-based Miss Tess & The Talkbacks perform at Headroom Stages, 17 Elliot St., on Friday at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Call 802-380-6675 or visit www.facebook.com/headroomstages.

Miss Tess is on tour as Miss Tess & The Talkbacks, joined by guitarist Will Graefe, upright bassist Larry Cook, and drummer Matt Meyer.

The vitality and bustle of New York informs "Sweet Talk," Tess’ fifth full-length studio album, and the first released on the Signature Sounds label. The opening shuffle of "Don’t Tell Mama" weds Tess’ jazz-bred insouciance to a pulsating R&B back beat. Tess’ nimble, chromatic phrasing on "Adeline" is answered by an incantatory solo by guitarist Graefe. "Sweet Talk" ends with an eerie, after-hours version of the Ink Spots’ "I Don’t’ Want to Set the World on Fire."

It is Tess’ own songs, however, that define "Sweet Talk": evocative studies that strike an elusive balance between stylishly classic and insightfully contemporary. At turns defiant, cheeky, wounded and raucous, the songs bridge the gap between Miss Tess -- the fearless, spotlit starlet onstage -- and Tess, the quietly thoughtful and compassionate personality behind the scenes.


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"I don’t know of anyone else right now touring in the Americana scene that has such an eclectic, jazzy, old school and interesting vibe," says Clementine Cox on NoDepression.com. "There’s an authenticity present in Miss Tess’ music. It is not contrived, not too far a stretch for the skeptical imagination. She is real. And she is rare."

The Boston Globe writes: "Sweet Talk is an unabashed reminder that there’s nothing wrong with casting a wide net. ... Her versatility is a rejoinder to how we expect to put musicians into neat little boxes according to genre."

For more information, visit www.misstessmusic.com.