From the clothes she wears to the music she sings, Miss Tess epitomizes “modern vintage.”
Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade took the stage Saturday night Millheim’s Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks and played several songs from their self-titled album as well a few from a new album to be released this spring.
It’s easy to see why Tess gravitates toward jazz, blues and early country music. She grew up in Baltimore studying piano and listening to her father’s big band. She formed the Bon Ton Parade in 2005 and cites Patsy Cline, Peggy Lee, Willie Nelson and Chuck Berry as her influences.
Wearing a yellow vintage-inspired dress and cat-eye glasses, Tess touched on many of those influences in the band’s 90-minute set. She even covered Nelson’s “Night Life,” citing him as one of her favorite songwriters. Her powerful vocals paired well with both fast and slow songs, and with the many genres touched on throughout the set.
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The songs from the band’s forthcoming album seemed to be inspired by their lives in New York City, where Tess said they’ve lived for the past two years. Muses included the Coney Island Ferris wheel on “Wonder Wheel” and the city’s rat-race environment on “People Come Here for Gold.”
The full house at the Elk Creek Cafe seemed to appreciate the band’s sound; several couples got up from their tables to dance throughout the set, and many others could been tapping toes and shaking in their seats to the music.
Saturday’s show marked the tail end of a tour that took the band to Boston; Nashville, Tenn.; Pittsburgh and more. Tess called the Elk Creek “a good place to land at the end of the tour” and said she hoped to make a third appearance there soon.
Jenna Spinelle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.