The Tami Show
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The Tami Show

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The best kept secret in music


"I can't give you anything but"

Artist: The Tami Show

CD: Self-Titled

Home: San Francisco, California

Style: Classic Pop/Country/Folk

Quote: "It only takes seconds to be transported into a somber world of deliberate melody and sound."

By Heidi Drockelman

I can’t give you anything but love ... baby.

This is definitely one of the more interesting records that has passed into my mailbox in recent days. And not because it’s overly-ambitious, risky or breaking in a new trend. This one is interesting for reasons that seem very simple: it’s music from another time and place, the songs and arrangements are classically structured, and the music just is what it is and isn’t concerned with fitting into audience and industry expectations.

In fact, it only takes seconds to be transported into a somber world of deliberate melody and sound. The moves and lyrical content of these melodies are at times gloomy, contemplative, always atmospheric, but simultaneously hopeful and never derivative. It really is a wonder that this darkly moody release manages to avoid the pitfalls of dragging its listener into a depression, and, rather, forces a positive reaction.

While the tone and instrumentation seem very calculated throughout most of the disc, the overall impression is that this charming departure from pop and rock trendiness is much like the spontaneous breaks in mood that we, as humans, experience. The content itself includes both originals and covers (a sterling updated version of “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” is a disc highlight), weaving a delicate array of classic sounds with a modern simplicity rarely heard. The imagery evoked in my brain by these songs ranges from a Quentin Tarantino-esque cantina in “Bender” to a seaside encounter between former lovers in “Annabelle Lee."

In addition to great imagery and a sneaking suspicion that lead songstress Tami Means is living inside my head, the supporting instrumentation on this disc supplies a wonderful balance to the plaintive vocals and guitar work of Means. Harmonica work from Tony Watts and trumpet contributions from Luis Moran masterfully set the tone for Means to work her magic. Means own vocals sway from influences of PJ Harvey, Lucinda Williams, Victoria Williams and even a smidge of early Liz Phair. The collaboration and structure of this disc are what first struck my interest, and the more I let this record spin, the more it not only grows on me, but within me. A truly unique and inspired effort.

RIYL: PJ Harvey, Victoria Williams, classic country/pop tunes

Standout tracks: “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love," “Annabelle Lee," “America Hates You," “I’m Gonna Change Everything," “(Another) Freight Train”



Grind My Nails-(live cd)
Blue In Green


Feeling a bit camera shy


From Paris,Texas to Paris,France

Old Cowtown to the Barbary Coast

The Street Corner to the Cabaret

Altman's Nashville to Bogart's Casablanca...


"No artifice, just art; no pretense, just perfect."

-Ron Curran,

Founded in San Francisco in 1999 by Texas native Tami Means, The Tami Show (inspired by the '60s variety show of the same name), began as a solo act, and has gradually morphed through various incarnations into a five-piece band, which includes Tony Watts on harmonica, Luis Moran on trumpet and vocals, Todd Gleason on accompanying guitar and vocals, Matt Stromberg on drums, and Ms. Means on guitar, lead vocals, and everything else. With the current arrangement , there is a fuller sound, which still manages to be stark and melodic. Each instrument contributes just enough to make it’s point, creating delicate harmonies with the others, while the whole thing moves along with the forcefulness and purpose of a steam engine. The songs are meticulously arranged, leaving some room for improvised inspiration, and ending up somewhere between a movie score, a bossa nova cabaret, and a rock n' roll hootenanny. The effect is dark, folky, mournful, uplifting, tough and sweet, part Chet Baker, part Kris Kristofferson, part Ennio Morricone, and a lot in between. All of these elements come together to produce a highly original and satisfying sound, making The Tami Show a musical experience not to be missed. While currently working on the follow-up to their self-titled cd which includes the gender bender romance of Bender to the gothic lust of Annabelle Lee, ( featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered, ) The Tami Show took a detour to record a couple of side projects; Grind My Nails, a live cd released by the French label Hinah, and Blue In Green, a collection of mostly early recordings enhanced by the addition of some recent improvised overdubs. Both the Self-titled and Blue In Green are available on

So, here's to the new old times

We could own this town, get everybody jumping until the floor caves in, have them clawing at the door-- mirrors, models, limos and cocaine--you know what I'm talking about. We could do it. But really we'd prefer to close down the dance hall amidst old streamers and a few lonely spinning bodies, courting their partners with nervous hands and tight smiles, in the fallen crepe paper shadows in a barn by the beach, on some dying, drizzling Sunday afternoon...