By Liz Kearney
Enterprise Staff Writer [09/12/12]
Maybe you’ve never heard of Tess Williams, but there’s a really good chance you’ve heard her mother, Claudia, sing.
Claudia Williams is the voice of the popular long-time band, Montana Rose. Her daughter, Tess, is 22 now, and out to make her own fortune in the music business.
And to further her career, Tess and her father, Kenny Williams, moved to Austin, Texas, two years ago.
Tess and her band, Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars, are on a Montana tour, Kenny said in a phone interview Tuesday.
The band has a show tomorrow night at the Chico Hot Springs Saloon, starting at 8 p.m.
It’s good to come home,” Kenny said. “I’ve known everyone (at Chico) for 30 years. They’re like family.”
Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars play a mix of mountain, country, Americana, originals and bluegrass – along with some Aretha Franklin covers sometimes, Kenny said.
“People come up to us at shows and say, “I don’t like country music, but I like you guys,’” he said.
Tess’s sound is unique, he added.
“It’s a Montana sound,” Kenny said. “It kinda sounds old, but modern.” He thinks Montana music is unique because it developed far away from outside influences.
But to make a living at music, Kenny and Tess realized Tess would need to move to a bigger city to put in her “10,000 hours,” as Kenny said, citing author Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers: The Story of Success,” that suggests it takes 10,000 hours to become good at something.
“Why you get good is time – and kind of time – you put in. People want to skip the hard work and go right to ‘American Idol” but it takes time to develop a craft,” Kenny said.
Kenny and Tess explored Memphis and Nashville before settling in Austin.
He said there are 1,500 bars in the Austin area featuring live bands every night of the week.
Tess and her band play four nights a week, Kenny said, and hang out with musicians the other three.
They chose Austin for its Western feel along with its vibrant music scene.
“People take vacations to Austin just to listen to music,” he said. “The only thing you could do here that’s a bigger deal is play college football,” Kenny joked.
Reprinted with permission.