She started singing jazz in the clubs in East Nashville and basically is a white lady with a soulful black voice. She performed all across the globe including Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as her husband was in the military. Staying home with her children prevented her from going big time, though listen to this CD and youll instantly know she made it anyway. All the songs are standard cover tunes. A touch of spunk and sass dominate the classic Is You Is or Is You Aint My Baby. Alabama Jubilee turns it up a notch, Sunny Side of the Street makes you tap your foot and whistle, though she breaks it all down on Willie Nelsons Funny How Time Slips Away. Totally Tess is totally classy! Its quality music sung by and outstanding singer. Steve Williams, her son, produced the disc and wrote an incredible biographical account of his mother and family. The story inside the disc jacket enriches the music even more.
— Barry Barnes- Editor Nashville Now and Then
Now for some real jazz that will take you back in time. Tess Williams should have been a big star but she had one problem, she was white and her vocals sounded too black for the times. This nostalgic CD is a tribute to a great artist who recorded the album at age 73 just before she passed on. Produced by her son Steve Williams for independents W.T.F. Records, the album is a real hoot. Great song, great musicians, and an incredible artist. Youre gonna love it!
— Brad Fisher- Nashville Music Guide
It surprises some folks that Nashville has a vibrant jazz scene. The late Tess Williams definitely deserves a DisCovery Award. This was a labor of love. Steve Williams’ mother sang with jazz bands when he was a boy, but never recorded. So he brought her to Nashville, surrounded her with Reggie Young, Spady Brannon, Leon Russell, Reese Winans, The Memphis Horns, Mike Joyce, Ilya Toshinski, Billy Cox, and other music city noteables. Sadly, she died just before completing Totally Tess. But now Steve and the rest of us have her remarkable voice to enjoy forever. These are deep, chesty, sassy, blues-mama, personality-packed and more than a little “black” vocal performances. She sounds all of her 73 years on this classic Willie Nelson ballad, But shes so darn spunky that its cooler than the breeze. She swings smartly on “angry,” ” sunny side of the street,” “why don’t you do right” and others here. She’s also up to the challenge of covering the great Dinah Washington on the bonus tracks ” what a difference a day made” and “baby youve got what it takes.” Another highlight is Steve’s CD booklet essay telling his mom’s remarkable story.
— Review from Music Row Magazine: 5/08/2008 “DISClaimer” by Robert K. Oerman