Jess Tardy
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Jess Tardy

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Band Blues Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Tardy's debut CD offers great mix"

"12 tracks solidly constructed with fine musicianship and a tightness that reflects the fact that the principals have been performing together for the past six years...Vocally, Tardy reminds me a lot of Bonnie Raitt (especially on the opening track, "Afraid to Fall" and the killer title track) She has a bluesy quality that swaggers through the songs with a confidence that is well-deserved.

This Palmyra native's full-length debut effort melds all of her musical loves: blues, pop, jazz, soul and country. And she penned seven of the 12 tracks on this CD, indicating there's a hot new songwriter on the scene"

"Jess Tardy"

"Jess Tardy studied at perhaps the best high school jazz program in Maine and later drew critical acclaim for her work with the Harvard University Jazz band. But she calls herself a singer-songwriter; and the consistently fine material on her debut album, "Waiting for You" bears her out. Her voice is most reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt, with an occasional nod to Melissa Etheridge. But there's a touch, too, of male classic-rocker Maine's Bill Chinnock. Tardy's delivery ranges from breezy to bold, but she doesn't shout. Rather, she relies on the traditional virtues of nuance and timing. She sings in the loose rhythms of rock's early years, and with particularly good effect on her own great "Safe and Sound" abnout a love interest who fears commitment: "You keep your distance, you keep you sanity/You keep it casual you keep it so carefree/ You keep it cool but you keep on calling me." Tardy is a confident singer, and advance word is that she and her rhythm 'n' jazz band get a bit grittier on stage." - The Boston Globe

"Live Music in Review"

"Tardy has a voice like a steaming bath, spiked with scotch." - The Harvard Crimson

"Artists Honor Ella Fitzgerald"

"With a sound so lush, phrasing so distinctive, and technique so assured, her performance amounted to something of a discovery." - The Chicago Tribune

"The Fifteen Coolest People at Harvard"

"She opens her mouth and drops lyrics so silky, you wonder how someone with the blues that bad can be from the land of Poland Springs." - FM- Fifteen Minutes

"Tardy's "Waiting for You" a fine debut"

"Tardy's versatile voice can be sweet and smooth one moment, smoky and rough the next. She's got a jazz vocalist's chops, and 'Waiting for You' is a well-crafted showcase for them. Jess Tardy is an exceptional talent, one to keep an ear on for the future" - Bangor Daily News


Waiting for You (LP) 2001
Hold On (LP) 2004



Jess Tardy would say that performing is in her blood, and watching her command a room of 20 or 2000 with her arresting vocals and vibrant presence, it would be hard to argue otherwise. The redheaded singer grew up in rural Maine, where she started singing a local variety shows when she was only four years old. When other little girls were playing with dolls and hosting teddy bear tea parties, Jess was playing with old guitars and hosting living room concerts. By the the age of 16 she had already performed twice at the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival, jammed at the North Sea Jazz Fest, and won praise for her vocal chops from jazz great Clark Terry.

As an undergrad at Harvard, the redhead quickly became a standout as the lead vocalist for the Harvard Jazz Band. There, Jess was able to pool her talents with the likes of bop diva Sheila Jordan and jazz bass virtuoso Steve Swallow.

After college, Jess went on to explore her own voice as a songwriter, writing and performing her original material in clubs around New England. She took her inspiration from the musical heroes she grew up on: Ray Charles, Etta James, Patsy Cline, and Bonnie Raitt.

In 2001, Jess released her self-produced album, "Waiting for You" to critical notice. The album promptly made it on several New England "Best of" polls, and prompted the Boston Globe to compare Jess to Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Etheridge.

Jess released her follow-up, "Hold On" in 2004, fresh on the heels of a move from New England to Nashville, Tennessee. It wasn't long before Music Row came knocking, and Jess was signed to a demo deal with RCA's Nashville arm. The opportunity gave her the dream opportunity to record in the label's famous studio with incredible session players who'd backed the likes of James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, and Paul Simon.

Although Nashville was a rarified experience, it didn't leave any stars in Tardy's eyes. Homesick for Boston's tight-knit community of musicians, Red Sox games, and snow, she returned to Boston in 2007, eager to experiment with the sounds and riffs she picked up down South. "Nashville was like musical grad school for me," she says, adding; "It helped me realize that I'm on the right path, and that as long as I'm spending my days and nights making music, I'll be just fine."

Jess has appeared at the following venues and festivals:


Paradise Lounge, Boston MA
Club Passim, Cambridge MA
Kendall Cafe, Cambridge MA
Living Room, NYC
The Lions Den, NYC
The Baz Bar, St. Barth's French West Indies
The Family Wash, Nashville TN
The Staccato, Washington DC
The Sutler, Nashville TN
Tootsie's, Nashville TN
Pecan St. Alehouse, Nashville TN
Masquers Club, Hollywood, CA
Toad, Cambridge MA
Johnny D's, Somerville MA
The Stone Church, Newmarket NH
Slate's, Hallowell ME


Sanders Theatre, Cambridge MA
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago IL
Auburn Arts Series, Auburn ME
Chicago Art Institute, Chicago IL
LL Bean Summer Concerts, Freeport ME
Unity Performing Arts Center, Unity ME


NEMO Boston 2003, 2004
SXSW 2003
Festival for Cultural Exchange, Portland ME
Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland
North Sea Jazz Festival, Holland
Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland ME
Riverfest, Cambridge MA


"207" WCSH/NBC live in-studio performance
Radio Kerry, Republic of Ireland
"The Songwriter Sessions", Nashville Public Radio
"Homemade Jams", WKIT Bangor ME
"Coffeehouse", WERS Emerson, Boston MA
"Singer Spotlight", Harvard University Radio
WERU Radio, Bangor ME


Tiffany & Co.
Beverly Hills Hotel
Harvard University
The Phoenix Room, Newburyport MA
The Catered Affair
LL Bean
Boston University
Standup for Kids