Rodeo Barons

Touring Groups

One Match Fire

Miss Tess & The Talkbacks

One Match Fire [Miss Tess Music]

Miss Tess: vocals & guitar
Thomas Bryan Eaton: guitars, vocals, and synth
Jefferson Hamer: vocals
James Gascoyne: bass
Matt Meyer: drums & percussion

Miss Tess says as a child her nights ended in music. Her parents would sing her to sleep with the gentle, tender sounds of American folk music, occasionally interrupted by their 30s swing band rehearsing in the basement. All grown up, her and her band The Talkbacks [Thomas Bryan Eaton on electric guitar, and a rotating cast on the bass and drums] regularly steal the show at venues with something a little rowdier and more eclectic. Infused with classic country and honky-tonk, southern blues, New Orleans jazz and swing, and sounds of swamp pop and early rock n’ roll, she and her band take pride they are able to blend so many different styles of American roots music and call it their own. Tess is not only very skilled on her own soloing guitar chops, but has been able to hand-pick some of the best accompanying musicians throughout the years as she has toured through all fifty states. Currently based in Nashville, Tess and her band seem to be both from everywhere and nowhere. Between the fusion of their musical styles and constant shows on the road, they are the embodiment of everything that it still home-grown in America.

Miss Tess & The Talkbacks have just released a brand new single, “One Match Fire”, on rootsy label Signature Sounds. The song was included on a 7” vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day. Showcasing a new exploration into a country-rock direction, this tune proves to be a catchy look into a new sound for the band. Their next full-length release is eagerly anticipated.

“One of the toughest things about camping is getting the fire started -- go without it, and you'll end up hungry and chilly. But real masters can get it done with a single match, and Miss Tess & The Talkbacks' ‘One Match Fire’ is a similar feat of excellence. A quick, sharp rhythm section drives the upbeat Americana tune, which ruminates on how it can be tough to kickstart a relationship and keep it going. The song even manages to recall both Karen Dalton and Fleetwod Mac in one swift sweep, and was born out of a real-life camping adventure.” – The Bluegrass Situation Song of the Week pick

Previously released albums by Miss Tess & The Talkbacks include The Love I Have For You, recorded and mixed by Devin Greenwood (Norah Jones, Anais Mitchell, Amos Lee) in Brooklyn, NY. The 7-song album features six covers and one new original and pays homage to some of Tess’s favorite singers and songwriters including Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Ted Hawkins, Randy Newman, and Hank Williams. Miss Tess explains how the band chose the 6 songs to cover: “Each artist we covered has held a special place in the history of our lives, as well as in the history of American music. These folks are all musical giants who dedicated their lives to music, and for that I hold them in the highest esteem.”

2012's Sweet Talk, includes 10 originals and a smoldering cover of "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire, " the Ink Spots classic. The originals include the bawdy cabaret of "Don't Tell Mama," the waltzing "Save Me St. Peter" ("Walking on water is a hell of a stand / With no solid ground and no helping hand."), the dance hop, swamp rocking of "People Come Here for Gold," and the burning jazz blues of "If You Wanna Be My Man," which easily could have been sung by Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan, two of her early idols.

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.

Miss Tess also lists Bonnie Raitt and Tom Waits among the artists she admires. Both have that ambitious stylistic range. Waits, she notes, "was able to take some of those older jazz and blues influences and kind of twist them around and do his own thing." That's just what Tess and her band do again and again with top notch musicianship to boot.

"I think we do bring new sounds to the table," she says. "I'm trying to figure out how we do that. Our ears have been informed by different things than the people who were living back then. We're not actively trying to copy anything. We're making fresh arrangements, kind of taking the feeling, style, and soul from some of this older music that we like. "

She says lately the band has taken a turn towards more of a groove. "The newer stuff has been more early rock and roll, some Chuck Berry influence, some Doug Sahm," she says. "I think lately we've been interested in dance music, something with a beat, a groove, something that makes you want to shake around."
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  1. One Match Fire

Production Collaborations

Before the Crowd

Maurizio

Maurizio is an award-winning singer-songwriter currently living in his hometown of Troy, New York. He has played sold out shows at venues including the world-renowned Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York and opened major festival stages for artists such as Dar Williams.


Maurizio grew up listening to a wide variety of music, from his mother’s bedtime Italian folk and opera songs, to his older brother Dominic’s rock albums (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Beach Boys, among others). This early exposure to such a wide range of music informed him well for the venues he would play years down the road. Over the course of almost three decades, Maurizio has performed in every type of venue imaginable, from the decorated to the unadorned. It is these varied venues and early childhood experiences that have given rise to Maurizio’s genre-breaking songs. On any given night, Maurizio will serve his audience well, drawing from a catalog that is as diverse as the venues he plays.


Maurizio’s voice shows vulnerability and relaxed tenor that quickly draws the listener in. His guitar-playing style fills a space that bustles with percussive backbeats and well-timed melodic interplay.


When writing a song, Maurizio explains: “I try to quiet down my mind and get to that place in my heart where I can just let my hand do the writing, as opposed to thinking about it too much. I then read what I have written as a revelation, as if somebody else had put down the words. “


In 2012, Maurizio teamed up with producer James Gascoyne to begin crafting his first proper studio album, Before the Crowd. Maurizio’s love and loyalty to family meant recording vocals late into the night after helping with the care of his mother, who suffered a debilitating stroke in 2008. The album is nothing short of a masterpiece and a true labor of love. Before the Crowd was released on September 26th, 2015 with a live performance at The Hangar in Troy, New York to celebrate its completion before a loyal fan base.


In a 2016 interview with Joel Patterson of Mountaintop Studios, Maurizio spoke about playing from the heart: “When I play a song I try my best to do just that; to be playful and trust what my instincts tell me. Some nights are great some not so great, but I try not to hold onto the highs or the lows. I have wrestled with stage anxiety all my life and have recently come to terms with the fact it’s my ego wanting things to be perfect, but perfection doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great performance. Focusing on playing perfect takes your mind away from the ultimate goal of putting forth a genuine performance. What we love many times are the imperfections, the stumbling and getting back up again. It’s real and it evokes emotion in the audience which is ultimately the job of any artist. “


About the album ('Before the Crowd')


Before the Crowd opens with Breathe, an ethereal sounding song that builds effortlessly, weaving beautiful, sparse piano and guitar interplay. The opening line ‘I went walking, along the river’s edge after the flood’ sets the tone of the entire album as a self-introspecting work. The majority of the album is in first person and serves well as a true to form confessional. To take a quote from Maurizio, “Many of the lyrics in the album may seem cliché but these are actual events that happened in my life. From being down to literally my last dime and walking along the river’s edge after my hometown of Troy, New York had experienced an historic flood.”


Radio Waves, the fourth track on the album, is a meditation about his sister Grace. While sifting through some of the beautiful artwork and other materials she had sent home from Africa where she was serving in the Peace Corps, he came upon a book entitled “The Study of Radio Waves”. The combination of curiosity and the longing to see his sister one more time somehow coalesced around this random book. It struck Maurizio: radio waves are invisible and all around us, just like memories and the feeling of love. We can't physically touch these things and yet their presence can be experienced all around us. The proof is in the music we hear on the radio, a memory triggered by a sweet autumn day, and the euphoria of being in love. Radio Waves begins, “I’m gonna study radio waves – get myself closer to the truth – nobody lives in a vacuum but maybe if I can get closer to the inner workings of the invisible, I can find love”.


My Sister Rose is the sixth track on the album. Although the song speaks directly to his sister, the message is universal: in breaking free of our limitations and accepting what we can't change. It's a call to squarely face our devils, find that elusive inner peace, and derive meaning in an impermanent life. The album as a whole would have been described as a confessional in a previous era and thematically wrestles with a yearning to go back, to try and regain what's been lost along the way. Ultimately the songs glow with a positive message: embrace the here and now.
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