Jess Tardy

Jess Tardy

 Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
BandBluesSinger/Songwriter

Flame-haired singer-songwriter whose powerful, blues-drenched vocals and original blue-eyed soul tunes are drawing critical comparisons to Bonnie Raitt and Norah Jones. Find her online at iTunes, or www.jesstardy.com, and push PLAY for rootsy americana with a splash of twang and a jigger of soul.

Biography

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:

CLUBS:

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

CONCERT VENUES:

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

FESTIVALS:

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

LIVE TV & RADIO:

"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

CORPORATE CLIENTS:

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

Lyrics

Maybe Forever

Written By: Jess Tardy

I've been told
I'll know when I know
It's like a thunderbolt
coming down on you
that turns your tears to gold
I've been told

And when it's right
it'll be like day and night
you won't believe you ever
went a day in your life without it
you'll see the light
when it's right

CHORUS:
Well I don't know
about any of that
I just like your smile
And I don't know
if its just the rain coming down
But I could be here for a while
maybe forever
maybe forever
maybe forever

Love is blind
and here you are
opening my eyes
but I don't care
Cuz i'm not letting go this time

CHORUS:

Cuz I don't know
about any of that
I just like your smile
And I don't know
if its just the rain coming down
But I could be here for a while
maybe forever
maybe forever
maybe forever

Always You

Written By: Jess Tardy & Casey Beathard

I've been wanderin
I've been roamin around
This big old city
Lookin for a face in the crowd

Someone with the answers
a cure that can save me
from a mind so weary
and a heart that want stop breakin

CHORUS:
But it's always you that I see
livin on the edge of my dreams
and it's always you that I need
it's always you that's out of reach
it's always you
and it will always be

The lights down on broadway
they spell out your name
and they won't let me forget
I was a fool to let you slip away

And there's a man on the corner
playin those lovesick blues
I throw my buck in his hat and say
I hear you brother
I got them too
Oh yes I do

CHORUS:
Cuz it's always you that I see
livin on the edge of my dreams
and it's always you that I need
it's always you that's out of reach
it's always you
and it will always be

It's Just Money

Written By: Jess Tardy & Casey Beathard

I woke him up one night
around 3 a.m.
and said baby, I can't sleep
I've been stretching this checkbook
every which way
and I can't make ends meet
Maybe I should quit the band
and go back to working
down at Puckett's Grocery
And he laughed and said
Girl, what you need to do is just go back to sleep
He said:

CHORUS:
Honey it's just money
we're gonna look back and laugh
someday cuz it's gonna be funny
we got a love and a half
and our dreams
and the future's lookin' sunny
It's okay honey
It's just money

Well we worked hard
paid our dues
plowed through
all the barely getting by
I found a good steady gig
with a jar full of tips
at the end of the night
So I said hey we're on a roll
let's have some fun and go
down to Mardi Gras
But he kept putting on the brakes
talking about saving
saying maybe we better not
So I said

CHORUS:
Honey it's just money
we're gonna look back and laugh
someday cuz it's gonna be funny
we've got a love and a half
and our dreams
and the future's lookin' sunny
It's okay honey
It's just money

He came home the other night
and snuck up behind me
at the kitchen sink
I turned around and there he was
down on one knee
with a diamond ring
I dropped the dish I was washing
put the ring on my finger
and said the answer's yes
then I looked him in the eye
and said how the hell
we ever gonna pay for this
and he laughed and said

CHORUS:
Honey it's just money
we're gonna look back and laugh
someday cuz it's gonna be funny
we got our love
and our health
and our dreams
and the future's lookin' sunny
It's okay honey
It's just money

Don't Ever Stop Loving Me

Written By: Jess Tardy

I've prayed for forgiveness
I've prayed for bluer skies
For a reason to face my days
For someone to share my nights
All my prayers were answered
When you looked into my eyes

So don't ever leave
And don't ever stop loving me

I gave up love as a lost cause
Thought I was bound to be alone
Went from one man to another
Like I was born to roam
Til the first time
You held me in your arms
It felt just like coming home

So don't ever leave
And don't ever stop loving me

Well I've lost in love before
But I can't stand to lose you now
That I've finally found you

So put your hand in mine
And lay down by my side

And don't ever leave
And don't ever stop loving me
Don't ever leave
Don't ever stop loving me

Highway 9 (Hang On)

Written By: Jess Tardy

Fireflies lit up the night
And we watched the stars fall down
From a big, bad sky
You said it must be Leo
Chasing Gemini
And I knew you were leaving
You were moving on
I could tell by the look in your eyes
You were already gone

And the owl called
And the loon cried
Breezes blew over our shoulders
And they passed right on by
You said
My, aint' this a simple kinda life
And I knew you were leaving
You were moving on
I could tell by the look in your eyes
You were already gone

CHORUS:
And some tears fall harder
And some tears they never fall at all
And the seas of brokenhearted
They know the best
that they can do is stall
So if you leave me
Don't leave me in the summer
Hang on til the fall

Radio was playing
Kisses sweeter than wine
When you said the porch screen
I'm taking a ride
To watch the trucks go by
On Highway 9
And I knew you were leaving
You were moving on
I could tell by the look in your eyes
You were already gone

CHORUS:
And some tears fall harder
And some tears they never fall at all
And the seas of brokenhearted
They know the best
that they can do is stall
So if you leave me
Don't leave me in the summer
Hang on til the fall

Waiting for You

Written By: Jess Tardy

I won’t try to be something I’m not
And I won’t want
what I have not got
You took it back
the love you gave to me
But I won’t dwell
on what used to be
And I won’t think
you were meant for me
And I won’t cry and I won’t weep

Don’t worry baby
I’m gonna be alright
I won’t try to change your mind
But if you do I won’t be hard to find
I’ll be waiting for you
to come back to me.

I won’t write
I won’t call on the phone
And ask you to feel
what you just don’t
And I won’t dream
we’re still the talk of the town
You with your heart on your sleeve
Me with my hair let down
I won’t sing
and I won’t write songs
That beg you for love
And I won’t feel wronged

Don’t worry baby
I’m gonna be alright
I won’t try to change your mind
But if you do
I won’t be hard to find
I’ll be waiting for you
to come back to me.

I won’t dwell on what used to be
I won’t think
you were meant for me
Don’t worry baby
I’m gonna be alright
I won’t try to change your mind
But if you do
I won’t be hard to find
I’ll be waiting for you
to come back to me

Dreamer

Written By: Jess Tardy & Aaron Katz

And now that the book has been closed on you
And the way to everything that died with my pride
I’m seeing the world like a newborn
Skies are calm over my bed
And the winter makes a bridge connecting
One year gone by without you and I’m doing fine just like you said

And it brings me home
To the dreamer I remember
Counting the stars in the sky
There was meaning I remember
Long before you arrived
And it’s so good to be back again

Now there is need to be needy
Soon everything that drifted away
It’s gonna come back again just like it’s newborn
And when I walk
Oh the rhythm is completely free
And I can breathe again

And it brings me home
To the dreamer I remember
Counting the stars in the sky
There was meaning I remember
Long before you arrived
And it’s so good to be back again

Afraid to Fall

Written By: Jess Tardy

Must be hard
to make it seem so easy
You fall apart
and then you pick up the pieces
You dust ‘em off
before anybody sees you
A little smaller and a little weaker

Don’t make it harder on yourself
Keeping your love on the shelf
Share your secrets I won’t tell
But don’t be too afraid to fall
(Baby now now )
Don’t be too afraid to fall

Baby doll people lie and they use
That’s just life
some you win, some you lose
Put it behind you
and look at the good news
If you sing the blues
that’s the tune you choose

Don’t make it harder on yourself
Keeping your love on the shelf
Share your secrets I won’t tell
But don’t be too afraid to fall
(Baby now now)
Don’t be too afraid to fall

I could love you
If I could just disarm you
If I testified that I’d never harm you
Would you let me inside
Let me change your mind
I could love you baby
if you let me try

When the night is cold
and the wind is blowin’
All we got is who we’re holdin’
So are you stayin or are you goin
If you need me show it cuz I need to know it

Don’t make it harder on yourself
Keeping your love on the shelf
Share your secrets I won’t tell
But don’t be too afraid to fall
(Baby now now)
Don’t be too afraid to fall

Won't Let You Go

Written By: Jess Tardy & Aaron Katz

When you open up your eyes this morning
All my love will be awake here waiting
Such a perfect moment
Like the time’s been frozen

No changes
Always I’m waiting for you
Every sunrise
So don’t you mention you’re leaving
I won’t let you go

There’s Otis on the a.m. singing
Like he’s harmonizing with your slow breathing
I wanna bottle up this moment
And just hold on it

No changes
Always I’m waiting for you
Every sunrise
So don’t you mention you’re leaving
I won’t let you go

It’s amazing how the simplest of things
Can bring you to your knees
I can’t believe it darling how you make me feel
Every time you look at me
Baby I’m so damn lucky

No changes
Always I’m waiting for you
Every sunrise
So don’t you mention you’re leaving
I won’t let you go

It's a Pity

Written By: Jess Tardy

It’s a pity, it’s a shame
but it’s the end
We had a good thing
But now you can’t come home again
Found out all about you
And the lie that I’ve been living in
So I’m gonna sit right here
‘til I forget I ever knew your name

Denial is my drink of choice
It helps me swallow regrets
If I can get my fill
Then in the morning
baby we never met
We never happened
It’s a pity it’s a shame,
but it’s the end

It’s a pity, it’s a shame
but it’s the truth
We had a good thing
But now I wish I never knew
You were born for bad things
And I was born to be your fool
So I’m gonna sit right here ‘til the sun goes down on you

Denial is my drink of choice
It helps me swallow regrets
If I can get my fill
Then in the morning
baby we never met
We never happened
It’s a pity,it’s a shame
but it’s the end

Back Around

Written By: Jess Tardy

I can remember when
you took me by the hand
And we danced
with the blue moon shinin’ down
How I need you now
to take my hand again
If you’d only come back around

Cuz I can remember when
we thought we knew everything
And we laughed
at the shadows falling on the ground
How I need you now
to shine your light again
If you’d only come back around

Darlin’ won’t you come back around
(Don’t you stay away too long)
Darlin’ won’t you come back around

It’s getting late in the year
I thought you’d be here by now
Blue moon has come and gone
I kept a place for you here
In case you come back around
Don’t you stay away too long

Darlin’ won’t you come back around
(Don’t you stay away too long)
Darlin’ won’t you come back around

Cuz I can remember when
you took me by the hand
And you promised me
you’d never let me down
How I need you now
to take my hand again
If you’d only come back around

Darlin’ won’t you come back around
(Don’t you stay away too long)
Darlin’ won’t you come back around

I can remember when
you took me by the hand
And we danced
with the blue moon shinin’ down

The Only One

Written By: Jess Tardy & Aaron Katz

Would you like to fly away
Out of the city and the day to day
Just you and me hand in hand
So lost in our love

And we won’t stop
‘til the trees turn white
Then we’ll break out the blankets and the candlelight
No telephone to answer
Because there’s nobody callin’

You are the only one
In this whole world for me
You are the only one
In this whole world for me

Would you like to sleep all day
Under the covers
in a warm embrace
And at night we can build a fire
Out of the wood from our back yard
Time becomes the burning flame
We’re so lost in our love

You are the only one
In this whole world for me
You are the only one
In this whole world for me

You are the only one
In this whole world for me
You are the only one
In this whole world for me

Safe and Sound

Written By: Jess Tardy

You know hope is dangerous
It keeps me wasting time
on a wait and see
‘Til you say love is grand I guess
But baby it requires
too great a leap
You keep hanging around ‘til I need you then you can’t be found

Cuz you’re too far away
even at arm’s length
You’re so afraid
cuz you don’t dare to play it
Any other way
But safe and sound

You said your search
it was complete
Who was I to think
that you might not mean it
That instead you’d keep on dreaming
about eyes a little greener
And two lips a little sweeter

And you’re so tired
of your small town
But you can’t get up
and you can’t get out
If you’re too afraid
you don’t have the strength
If you play it straight
Cuz you don’t dare to play it
any other way
But safe and sound

You keep your distance
you keep your sanity
You keep it casual
you keep it so low key
You keep it cool
right where you need it
To make me think
that you could take or leave it
You keep your distance
you keep your sanity
You keep it casual
you keep it so carefree
You keep it cool
but you keep on callin’ me
Love me baby or just let me be
Love me now
cuz I can’t move on
and I can’t get out

If you play it straight
Cuz you don’t dare to play it
any other way
But safe and sound

When You Get Home

Written By: Jess Tardy

It's good to hear your voice
Seems like it's been so long
I'm just rattling around the house
Like you ain't gone
I've got your letters
I read them every night
I know there's so much you don't say
We don't have to talk about it now
Did I tell we got some rain
And all the neighbors send their prayers

When you get home
We'll paint the town again
When you get home
I won't have to pretend
I'm stronger than I really am
When you get home

They're lighting candles down by the armory
They're singing songs for all you boys
But that just ain't for me
The baby's growin so fast
I sent some pictures
He looks more like you every day
Sometimes I worry bout his big sister
She keeps asking if she'll see you soon
And I don't know what to say

When you get home
We'll paint the town again
When you get home
I won't have to pretend
I'm stronger than I really am
When you get home

It's a Pity

Written By: Jess Tardy

It's a pity
It's a shame
But it's the end
We had a good thing
But now you can't come home again
I found out all about you
And the lie that I've been living in
So I'm gonna sit right here
'Till I forget I ever knew your name

Denial is my drink of choice
Helps me swallow regret
If I can get my fill then in the morning
Baby we never met
We never happened
Cuz it's a pity
It's a shame
But it's the end

It's a pity
It's a shame
But it's the truth
We had a good thing
Now I wish I never knew
You were born for bad things
And I was born to be your fool
Now I'm gonna sit right here
'Til the sun goes down on you

Denial is my drink of choice
Helps me swallow regret
If I can get my fill then in the morning
Baby we never met
We never happened
Cuz it's a pity
It's a shame
But it's the end

Discography

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

Set List

Jess Tardy originals:

Hold On
Don't Ever Stop Loving Me
Maybe Forever
Its a Pity
Won't Let You Go
Won't Fall Again
Afraid to Fall
In Blue
Dreamer
The Only One
Its Always You
Highway 9
Safe and Sound

Covers:
True Love Travels (Percy Sledge)
You Don't Know Me (Ray Charles)
My Baby Just Cares for Me (Nina Simone)
Somethings Gotta Hold on Me (Etta James)
Cry Me a River (Julie London)
You are My Sunshine (Ray Charles)
These Arms of Mine (Otis Redding)
Cry to Me (Solomon Burke)
Crazy (Willie Nelson)
Ain't it Funny How Time Slips Away (Willie Nelson)