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Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade

By Sarah Hall
shall@salisburypost.comEverybody loves a parade, and Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade are no exception. The Boston-based band was recently called “the area’s next musical sensation” by Boston Magazine and named as a “local on the verge” by the Boston Globe.
The 2008 Boston Music Awards awarded Miss Tess as Outstanding Folk Artist of the Year ó “interesting category, but I’ll take it,” says Miss Tess. Her compositions touch on jazz, blues, country, roots, making her hard to categorize.
“Vintage jazz” is a prevalent description of her original songs. The 20-something songstress and composer has a style that could have been equally successful in the ’30s, ’40s or ’50s.
The Bon Ton Parade is marching down the the East Coast today, performing in West Virginia tonight, arriving in Salisbury Friday. They will perform around 200 shows this year.
Miss Tess (last name, irrelevant) chose music gigs over academia. The Berklee College of Music brought the Maryland-born musician to Boston, but after three semesters of juggling classes and shows while trying to pay the rent, the performing life won out.
Miss Tess already possessed a degree in graphic design from University of Maryland. She puts this skill to good use with posters and CD covers.
It’s not surprising to learn that Miss Tess grew up in a musical household. She would go to sleep at night to the sounds of her father’s swing band practicing in the room beneath her bedroom. The big band sound that accompanied her dreams permanently took root, blossoming in her current compositions.
Miss Tess has just released her fifth album, the eclectic “Darling, oh Darling.” Her band’s present lineup includes Alec Spiegelman on sax and clarinet, Ben Davis on upright bass, and Matt Meyer on drums.
Miss Tess admits that she looks forward to a point in her career where she doesn’t have to tour constantly. It can be a chore ó like the time the top blew off their luggage carrier, widely dispersing CDs and clothing. They managed to retrieve the clothes, but not all the CDs.
But there are also plenty of lighter moments to keep touring interesting, such as the night in Knoxville when a man came up to the front of the stage between songs and held up a wedding ring to Miss Tess.
Here’s hoping the band’s stop in Salisbury on their march through the South will be one of their pleasant tour memories.
You can learn more about Miss Tess and have a listen at www.misstessmusic.com.
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Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade will be performing at Looking Glass Artist Collective, 405 N. Lee St., Friday night.
Doors open 8 p.m., music starts around 8:30. Admission is $7 at the door. Concessions will be available.
Friday is a “nonprofit night” at Looking Glass. A portion of the event’s proceeds will go the Salisbury-Rowan Choral Society.
Also, those attending the Waterworks Visual Arts Center chili cook-off event Friday night who also want to check out Miss Tess’ act can get in for $1 if they bring proof that they just came from the Waterworks event.
For more information, call 704-633-2787, contact salisburyartists@gmail.com or visit www.salisburyartists.org.

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