Miss Tess & the Talkbacks + Tall Heights
Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 8:00 PM
Bridge Street Live presents another very eclectic co-bill. Don't miss this night of amazing live music with these two very incredible bands = Miss Tess & the Talkbacks + Tall Heights.
For Miss Tess and her band, the Talkbacks, it seems the best name was one that didn't mean much of anything too concrete. The Brooklyn-based singer and her band make swinging, jumpin' modern vintage music that nods to the traditions of saloon jazz, country swing, early rockabilly, and New Orleans second line, yet somehow maintains a unique and personal sound.
In their earlier incarnation, they were known as Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade and that, says Miss Tess, proved both too small of a box and too confusing. They were consistently confused for a zydeco band or a New Orleans band. "When I conceived of the band in Boston back in 2006 or so, we had a horn player and we were a little more jazz influenced," she says. “In the last couple of years the sound has evolved, something that naturally happens when you spend so much time on the road with a band. We’ve become slightly edgier and there is some more country and early rock n’ roll coming through. We now have two electric guitars. I'd been thinking about a change for a while and we finally settled on a name. With a name like the Talkbacks, it is what it is."
That's a good thing because it's not easy to define Miss Tess and the Talkbacks.
In the summer of 2010, Tim Harrington and Paul Wright were playing for spare change in Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace. In a few short years since, Tall Heights has headlined packed listening rooms across the country, toured down to Austin, TX to showcase at South By Southwest Music Festival, and performed alongside national acts like Laura Marling, Ryan Montbleau, and Andrew Belle.
For the duo’s debut full-length effort, Man of Stone (May, 2013), Tall Heights hits the home studio, sinking deeper into the vast world they’ve meticulously built for two. The title track and first single, Man of Stone, recalls a time when cavemen documented day-to-day existence on the walls of their stone-sheltered dwellings. “Emblems of cavemen they taught me / the importance of typing in bold,” contextualizes the rest of the record and challenges a careful listener to view each song as a vital documentation of what is both banal and extraordinary. The record exists in a fire-lit, shadowy space for their growing army of fans to inhabit. After two powerful EPs, there has been a growing cry for more from these young artists, and Tall Heights delivers with an LP of grand vision and scale.
Tall Heights released their first EP, Rafters, in September 2011. In a time when artists of their genre oft retreated to the wilderness to record, Tall Heights stayed in the city. These five tracks were recorded over a few sweltering months in a small bedroom of their Boston apartment with an SM58 microphone, an iMac, a guitar, a cello and their voices. And, although there was neither cabin nor lake, Rafters spread across their Thoreauvian folk scene like brushfire, with over 6,000 copies sold to date.
With their sophomore release, The Running of the Bulls EP (October, 2012), Tall Heights responded to their fans’ growing hunger to download and relive the enchanting, bottomless ambiance of their live performance. Over four days at Q Division Studios in Somerville, MA, Tim and Paul shut their eyes, breathed and performed, recording some of their most haunting material. Thematically, the EP’s narrative voice, quiet and bold, continually locates the artist as a vigilant figure on a fast-paced and ever changing landscape. Fittingly so, The Running of the Bulls EP, humble and live, further established Tall Heights as an ever stronger force on this robust folk scene amongst the nation’s most esteemed new artists.