Tawdry is an evolutionary work in progress, rooted in Americana but always open to new possibilities. Comprised of three reincarnates of an old-fashioned era, Tawdry moves a new beat to traditional folk and jazz styled tunes.
Hilary Graves first came upon Song Fest, a collection of songs sung by the fellows and girls in the various college outing clubs of the northeast, in 2005. This book, written in 1932, was her introduction to the roots of America, the material from our history in word and song. Since that day she has been acquiring old song books, some of which date back to the 1800s, to learn the old music on guitar - traditional tunes the traditional way.
Singing for a local jazz/funk band, Ghost Quartet, Hilary met Tuba player Kevin Smith in 2009. This unusual pair formed the Yankee Doodle Dandies as a side project, visiting nursing homes to entertain. This quickly became a favorable way of learning their culture and customs of Americana music.
While in musical cahoots for a few years, the two captivated easy going audiences, not only at Nursing Homes, but also many local events, festivals, and church affairs. Currently backed by percussionist Josh Bowling, Tawdry has begun writing their own compositions, written in their own strain of a current day Americana.
The three valley musicians have their own custom of featuring other local artists to greet the stage and warm your hearts with their version of our history's music. Keeping traditional tunes under their belt and hot on the skillet, Tawdry will continue to keep the music of the old time alive and thriving while mixing in the sound of our new century.
Vocalist for the 2010 Valley Advocate voted #1 funk band Ghost Quartet, Hilary Graves recalls singing her ABC's wildly at the age of two. When handed a guitar in seventh grade she immediately fell in love, playing songs you'd typically find on an old jukebox out in the heart of rural America. After traveling across the states several times Americana music found her, and she found a home in western Mass. As a singer songwriter, jazz vocalist for Ghost Quartet and Tawdry, and vocal shredder/guitarist for thrash band Zombie Nurse, as one review said, "Singer Hilary Graves possesses a winning combo of youthful energy and confident attack. She navigates precipitous melodies with grace..."- James Heflin The Valley Advocate.
Kevin "TubaLove" Smith is a classically trained musician who thrives despite this handicap. He has been diagnosed as "half man/ half tuba". Kevin is currently also playing with Astrobeast, a high-energy dance band which blends the music of Fela Kuti with rock and pop songs; and Rob Skelton's Pitchfork, merging the soul of organic farming with a wide variety of rhythmic atmospheres.
Highly versatile drummer Josh Bowling has previously graced local stages with rock bands Conduit and Azwan and The Savages. Though fluent in various styles, Josh says he feels most at home with dirty bluegrass, outlaw country, and tawdry Americana.