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Dressy Bessy plays Vail

Ted AlvarezVail Daily, Vail Colorado
Dressy Bessy frontwoman Tammy Ealom is known for her Day-Glo Mod style.
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GOLDEN PEAK – Denver’s Dressy Bessy toiled in the indie-rock trenches for years, churning out a critically beloved mix of twee pop, punk and ’60s psychedelia that went largely ignored by the mainstream. But two big breaks in 2005 helped put Dressy Bessy in the public eye: an appearance on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and a favorable comparison to Coldplay by well-known critic Ken Tucker on NPR.”It was wild – there’s like a waiting list, and they randomly called us in on a Tuesday to tape on a Thursday,” said Tammy Ealom, Dressy Bessy’s singer and guitarist. “We got in early at 8 to do a sound check, but it wasn’t really different from any live show. I’m usually a bit drunker, but it was real cool. Every time they re-air it our Web-site hits go up.”On NPR, Ken Tucker praised Dressy Bessy’s most recent album, “Electrified,” for its sunshine hooks and Ealom’s spunky voice and witty lyrics. Tucker went on to explain that while Coldplay writes overbearing songs that are supposed to be life-affirming, Dressy Bessy creates 312-minute chunks of ear candy that actually feel life affirming. If the review was the rock ‘n’ roll equivalent of a battle, Dressy Bessy came out the clear winner.

“We were on tour, so we just heard about it through e-mail,” Ealom said. “We picked up a handful of fans, and since we were on tour that week, it gave us a lot more headlines, things like ‘Dressy Bessy vs. Coldplay.’ I’ve been meaning to send Ken Tucker a Christmas Card.”Ealom is joined in Dressy Bessy by her boyfriend, John Hill, on lead guitar (he also plays in The Apples in Stereo), Craig Gilbert on drums and Rob Greene on bass. They’ve played Vail before with the B-52’s, but they’ve only recently been making incursions into notoriously indie-unfriendly mountain towns.”We played this past summer with the B-52’s, and it was really cool because I think we won over their crowd,” Ealom said. “We’ve started to really start going up there. John (Hill) skis, but I just like to watch. Ever since Sonny Bono smacked into a tree, it’s ruined my desire to ski and snowboard. But I’m a big fan of watching.”Dressy Bessy is currently writing and recording new material, with potential plans to release a new album in the fall. But because the band is still feverishly practicing the new songs, fans can expect just classic Dressy Bessy on Saturday.

Beyond its musical chops, Dressy Bessy is also known for Tammy Ealom’s electric-bright sense of Mod-style, which she cobbles together from her own vintage collection of clothes and accessories. Collectors, look out: Her collection has grown so large that she’s even managed to find time to sell some of it off on eBay. “I’ve been collecting vintage clothing and crap for years,” Ealom said. “Thrift stores are usually really picked over, but Salvation Army’s the cheapest, and sometimes you can find some gems there. Mostly, eBay is the best place to look for shoes and stuff.”So can we expect some old-school Descente onesies on Saturday?

“That’s totally an issue,” Ealom said. “Fans have asked me, ‘Are we going to see any vintage snowsuits?'””It’s just fun to get dressed, and if I’m dressed really cute, I play better.”Arts & Entertainment Writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or talvarez@vaildaily.com.


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