Album Review: Miss Tess – The Moon Is An Ashtray

Miss Tess’s new album The Moon Is An Ashtray has been produced by Adrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Hurray For The Riff Raff) at his Nashville studio The Bomb Shelter. Working with traditional vintage instruments and gear the album recreates timeless sounds with a stylish new vision.

I’m a sucker for a little retro style in any genre really and Miss Tess covers the spectrum from jazz and rockabilly to Western swing and classic country. Thematically she certainly has a little more bite than your average, as the opening cover song The Truth Is shows.

On True Flood Rachael Price from Lake Street Dive makes an appearance and that band are a good reference point for some of the vibe of the album. This little soulful song allows them both to let loose and enjoy each other’s musical company.

There’s a fun video for the title track The Moon is an Ashtray, a kind of vintage fantasy with a darker twist, which nicely sums up the whole album. The song takes a closer look at an old cliched image and finds something murkier and altogether more interesting.

I Wanna Be A Cowboy is a fringed slice of Western swing that feels like it could be the soundtrack to the best night out you’ll ever have in Nashville. That leads into the slower and more mournful If You Don’t How To Love Me, which has some perfect pedal steel. Classic country lovers will be waltzing to this one and also the duet These Blues.

For those who prefer a little more rock and roll Take it Easy is a nice change of tempo. The album finishes out on the water with Riverboat Song, a jazzy throwback to a simpler era.

Miss Tess is a magpie musical spirit, happy to dig around for something shiny and interesting she can repurpose. The Moon is An Ashtray is a little treasure trove worth seeking out.

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