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Tessa takes Whistler by storm

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Who: Tessa Amy

What: Honey Thursdays

Where: Dusty’s

When: Thursday, Feb. 20

Where the hell has this girl been hiding? That’s the question on everybody’s lips since Whistler local Tessa Amy took to the Dusty’s stage last week.

The cheeky blonde singing and strumming sensation turned Open Mic Night on its ears with host Creekside Phil proclaiming Tessa "the best talent we’ve had come up on stage for years."

So impressed were the patrons and management that she was asked immediately to be part of the Honey Thursday series, a showcase of Whistler’s top acoustic women. Suzanne Wilson, Leanne Lamour, Kyla Uyede, make some room – Tessa is joining your ranks.

I decided to dig a little deeper into the world of Tessa Amy and it seems there’s more to this acoustic cutie than meets the eye. She’s not just another hobby singer-songwriter who can play the guitar. She is in fact an Aussie import who was a popular performer on the Perth pub circuit and had an album on the airwaves called Plasticos.

"I gigged a lot in Australia on the back of my album and received quite a bit of airplay in 99," Tessa confessed.

"But I moved to Whistler in 2000 to be with my gorgeous Canadian husband and kind of left performing behind."

Tessa took up a post as the Community Outreach worker for Whistler Community Services but kept up her music behind closed doors. She’s since learned the keyboards and experimented with electronica, which she hopes to incorporate into her Dusty’s show. It will be her first solo gig in three years, unless of course you count an appearance with good mate Xavier Rudd. Anybody who went early to Rudd’s Boot gig a few weeks back would have seen her play.

"He called me up the day before and asked me if I wanted to open. I was a little hesitant because it had been so long but I did it and afterwards so many people were like, holy shit, where’ve you been?" she laughed.

So why the long pause from playing?

"Whistler is a hard crowd to crack," said Amy. "If you think of venues like the Boot, Dusty’s and the Crystal, they’re all meeting spots. People go there to have a chat and have a beer rather than watch a performer so I always thought I would feel like I was interrupting."

More like erupting, I’d say. Amy has the vocal versatility and folky sweetness of Beth Orton or Joni Mitchell. But her rootsy and rock ’n’ roll influences will make you toe-tap and sing along in no time. She’s a consummate story-teller and after years travelling the world, incorporates universal sounds to inspire, from Cuba’s Bossanova to Irish ditties.

Be at Dusty’s for the free gig from 8 p.m.

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