Miss Tess & The Talkbacks’ newest album Baby, We All Know could be described as an amalgamation of country-blues music with influences from artists both old and new. Pokey LaFarge, Lake Street Dive, Bonnie Raitt and Patsy Cline all come to mind when listening to this record. As one might expect from that listing of names, Baby, We All Know is decidedly old school. The album feels almost vaudevillian in nature, an aspect that works to its advantage. Miss Tess has a sulky charm to her voice that also echoes the feel of that era. Although they might have the energy and appeal of a newer act, this is hardly Miss Tess & The Talkbacks’ first rodeo. In fact, they’ve been around the block a few times, with Baby, We All Know being their 10th album. However, this LP definitely stands out among the rest, with hints of the previously mentioned Pokey LaFarge’s Something In The Water from a few years ago. That album catapulted LaFarge to the national spotlight. Thankfully, Miss Tess & The Talkbacks are here to continue this revival of throwback country-blues.
Miss Tess, who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY was originally a Berklee College of Music alum who lived in Boston for quite some time. She was a large part of the music scene there, and over the four years she resided there, received several Boston Music Award nominations and even won once. However, it is obvious the Mid-Atlantic part of the country has a deep part in her songwriting style, as she is originally from Maryland. Her songs feel rooted in that region, and are suggestive of the heart of Appalachia and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Baby, We All Know is definitely an album that deserves to be listened to as a whole. Miss Tess & The Talkbacks have truly crafted a winner. Tunes like “Little Lola” and “Do You Want My Love” feel like they belong on a jukebox in a ‘50s style diner, and “Shotgun Wedding” and “Ride That Train” feature some great guitar licks courtesy of electric guitarist Bryan Eaton. Regardless if you’re a fan of this kind of music or are looking for a prime point to jump off from, Miss Tess & the Talkbacks’ Baby, We All Know is definitely an album to add to your collection.