A year and a half ago, Miss Tess decided that a name change for her band (from “the Bon Ton Parade” to “the Talkbacks”) was in order as a way of signifying a shift to more overtly incorporate country, vintage rock ’n’ roll, and pop sounds in her music. “Sweet Talk,” her first record under the new name, was a fine rendering of those changes, and her new EP continues along the same path, but it does so by looking back. It collects a diverse clutch of covers (and one original) that constitutes an homage to some of the songwriters who have influenced her: Ted Hawkins, Hank Williams (his relative obscurity, “The Alabama Waltz”), Willie Nelson (a jazzy take on “Night Life”), Randy Newman, Neil Young, and Bonnie Raitt (a smoldering “Give It Up or Let Me Go”). And it's a delightful place to spend some time until the next album of Talkbacks material comes along. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Give It Up or Let Me Go”
Miss Tess & the Talkbacks play CD release shows at the Lizard Lounge on Dec. 19 and 20.