Miss Tess and the Talkbacks at Driftless Music Festival


As a child, Miss Tess grew up in a bountiful musical atmosphere.

Her parents would sing traditional folk songs to her every night before she went to sleep. And the sounds of 1930s swing tunes filled the house as her musician parents rehearsed with their band.

Having built on that foundation to launch a successful musical career over the past decade, Miss Tess and the Talkbacks will bring their unique blend of styles to this year’s Driftless Music Festival Saturday, July 14 from 12:00 Noon to 10:00 p.m. at Eckhart Park in Viroqua.

The Nashville-based group’s music is infused with classic country and honky-tonk, southern rhythm & blues, New Orleans jazz and swing, and sounds of swamp pop and early rock n’ roll—a sonic recipe for infectious easy listening.

About her hard-to-define style Miss Tess says: “Often somebody will come up to compliment the band and ask me what kind of music we just played. After mumbling through a few different genres I usually just tell them it’s my music and hope they enjoyed the show.”

Festival-goers can enjoy Miss Tess and the Talkbacks when they perform at 2:30 p.m. at the event.

Music at the Festival actually begins at 1:00 p.m. with The Full Monte Project, an Illinois-based four-piece ensemble specializing in instrumental deep-pocket feels with plenty of groove + soul.  

At 4:30 p.m. In Black and White takes the stage with a seasoned eclectic blend of sounds developed over thirty years of playing together at venues that include Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Navy Pier in Chicago and FarmAid. The group draws upon backgrounds in Jazz, Classical, Rock, R&B, Latin and Reggae to create a unique and contagious listening and dancing experience.

Stepping up with a deeply authentic Louisiana sound at 6:30 p.m. is Cedryl Ballou and the Zydeco Trendsetters, who will readily keep the Festival dance floor filled. Steeped in Creole music and culture, the young but seasoned Ballou shifts easily from drums to accordion and vocals, fronting the Trendsetters and touring extensively with regional Zydeco artists.

Closing the Festival at 8:30 p.m. is the Minneapolis-based Mila Vocal Ensemble, an all-female group grounded in the rich harmonic traditions of Eastern Europe and Russia. The name “Mila” has tender connotations—including “love” and “dear one”—in many of the languages represented by its repertoire.

Food vendors at the fest open at 12:00 Noon to provide a delicious variety of options, including pizza, crepes, Jamaican food, Italian beef sandwiches, brats, hamburgers, and tacos, as well as strawberry shortcake, French pastries, smoothies and other tasty desserts.

The Driftless Music Festival is a family-friendly FREE event. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair and stay all day.

For more information and updates, visit the Driftless Music Festival Facebook page or the event’s website at www.driftlessmusicfestival.com.


Contact: Charlie Knower (608) 620-8785 or driftlessmusicfestival@gmail.com