If you’re making a playlist for your significant other this Valentine’s Day, it’d be foolish not to include the new sultry duet from Philly vocalists Zakee and Res. “But You” is sexy without trying too hard or too little; a classy delight. Acoustic guitar melodies fill in the spaces between Res’s seductive tone and Zakee’s signature rasp. Slated to appear on both of their upcoming projects, it’s a job well done for the two songbirds.
West Philly native Res made it big in 2001 with her debut How I Do and, as with many Philly artists, she has a dedicated following. Since that time, she released the album Black.Girls.Rock!, a mixtape, and toured with Gnarls Barkley and Talib Kweli.
Last month Res released the three-years-in-the-making Refried Mac, a collection of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks covers on eOne Records – a label that also features Michelle Williams and Bilal among others. She performed Sunday night at World Café Live to an audience of friends, family, and long-time fans – two who came all the way from Las Vegas.
Starting off with selections from the EP, Res played a blistering version of “The Chain,” followed by “Rhiannon“, “Edge of Seventeen” and “Dreams.” It was the last of the covers that got many of the dining crowd on their feet. Res explained that the song is timeless since “players” are still “playing.” The band, which featured Refried producer Tom Spiker, provided an infusion of reggae that not many Fleetwood Mac fans would necessarily expect but the ambiance worked and helped to transition the set from the covers to Res’ back catalog.
The rest of the set was mostly from How I Do, the exception being “God Bless My Soul,” from her project with Kweli, Idle Warship. While in some ways, I found the lack of material from her other releases disappointing, the crowd was ecstatic hearing songs from their youth that were as introspective as the Stevie Nicks-penned songs from earlier in the set.
The highlight of the evening was Res’ performance of her hit “Golden Boys.” Listening to this, I immediately thought of what the song’s writer Santi White (Santigold) was saying – and how not much has changed over time. Performers such as Drake and Robin Thicke have been crticized much these past months for the images they evoke and how they depict women and fame. The lyrics could have been written last week but were actually written almost 15 years ago:
Now would they love you
If they knew all the things that we know?
Those golden boys are all a fraud
Don’t believe their show
Now would they love you
If they knew all the things that we know
Golden boy life ain’t a video
It’s easy to depend on the hits to drive ticket sales and there are many who remember How I Do fondly as an R&B album that went against the grain of the trends of the time. Refried Mac shows that Res is still rebelling against the industry and trying to turn expectations on their heads. She should trust that her fans will stick with her and that moving beyond her comfort zone may fuel the momentum for another great album.
The opener, Natural Selection, is a jazz-tinged group reminiscent of The Brand New Heavies. They did an impressive set of upbeat love songs with awesome guitar and keyboard solos. They not only covered Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone” which is gutsy but singer Alesia Dessau hit it out of the park and made the song her own. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below, and see the setlist and a video after the jump.
Singer and songwriter Res is celebrating the release of her new EP, Refried Mac, (a collection of Fleetwood Mac covers) tonight at World Cafe Live. The Philadelphia native first achieved mainstream success with her 2001 LP How I Do on which she captured listeners with her mix of indie pop, soul, and rock. Get tickets to the show here.
XPN welcomes Grace Potter & The Nocturnals back to Philadelphia for a show at The Electric Factory. The Vermont-based rock band wowed audiences at Coachella and XPN’s Non-COMMvention earlier this year with Potter’s undeniably charismatic stage presence and the band’s explosive songs. In June the band released their eighth studio album with The Lion The Beast The Beat. Tonight, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals perform with The Stepkids. Tickets are $25 for the all-ages show and doors open at 8:30 p.m.; more information is available here. Watch the video for “Timekeeper” below.
It’s been just shy of a year since Idle Warship – the eclectic collaboration of Philly-born songwriter Res and New York rap icon Talib Kweli – dropped their full-length debut, Habits of the Heart. This fall, the duo appears with a new track called “Get Your Way (Sex as a Weapon),” a bumpin’ push-pull gender war vignette from the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s The Man With The Iron Fist. Listen to it below and catch Res in concert at World Cafe Live on November 15; tickets and information on the show can be found here.
Idle Warship is the collaboration between Philly hip-hop/R&B singer and songwriter Res and rapper Talib Kweli. They are performing at World Cafe Live on Thursday, January 19th at 8 p.m. Go here for tickets and more information for the show. Idle Warship released an album called Habits Of The Heart last November. It was their first album since releasing their free mixtape Party Robot in October. Res did a gorgeous acoustic Key Studio Session last February that you can download for free here. Below, watch the video “Laser Beams” and stream “Rat Race” (both songs are from Habits Of The Heart). As a bonus, you can also stream Res’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” recorded at WXPN.
Shareese Ballard, better known as Philadelphia indie singer Res, has had her fair share of ups and downs over the course of her 10-year career. Her 2001 debut album How I Do featured the single “They Say Vision,” which hit #1 on the Billboard dance chart. Then, following her label MCA’s absorption by Geffen Records, she requested to be released from her contract and many of her unreleased recordings were shelved. In 2009, she digitally released her sophomore album Black.Girls.Rock! via iTunes, featuring those previously unheard songs. Now, perhaps as a treat for her loyal fans, Res has released the album in its entirety for free on her SoundCloud. Click here to stream and/or download.
Res has kept a steady performance schedule in the Philadelphia area as of late. She played as part of the WaWa Welcome America 4th of July festivities, and she’ll perform on July 31st at the 2nd Street Festival in Northern Liberties. She’s currently working on a new album, entitled Reset, with producer Martin “Doc” McKinney, who also produced How I Do.
Res stopped by the XPN studios for a The Key Studio Session back in February. Click here to check that out, and view the video for “There’s No Way” below.