I just love when I’m able to share a music appreciation moment with someone; those moments are even more dynamic and enriching when seemingly unlikely fans connect and bond over a particular artist. I had one such moment about a year ago, when my officemate and fellow music lover Dan Tucker (who’s a talented musician in his own right) heard the sounds of RES blaring through my headphones. “That was a great, album. What happened to her?” he commented and questioned, and for several moments we mutually expressed how much we loved and missed RES.
We both initially assumed that she made a clean disappearance from the music scene following the release and relative rise of her 2001 debut album, How I Do. Despite the buzz created by her first single “Golden Boys”, the Nas-remixed “Ice King” and “They-Say Vision”, which reached the top spot on the Billboard dance chart, How I Do was not the commercial success some had hoped it would be, and a few years later RES found herself without a record label. However, the pop/rock/soul artist remained in the public eye, and earned cool points thanks to a print modeling gig she snagged for Marc Ecko’s “Ecko Red” clothing line.
Flashes of RES’ musical ingenuity and hybrid sound would come in the form of the track “To Empower” from the movie Akeelah and the Bee, the digital release of her sophomore album Black.Girls.Rock!, and a partnership with one of the flyest lyricists of our time, Talib Kweli, to produce a 2011 release Habits of the Heart under the band name Idle Warship. But it wasn’t until recently, during my weekly scan of the Village Voice for the hottest shows around town, that I peeped an ad for a RES performance at the Blue Note on July 10.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I absolutely adore the Blue Note. The intimate nature of the space lends itself perfectly to that up-close-and-personal performance that I’ve grown to appreciate. On this particular night, it also gave RES the perfect opportunity to experiment and share. And what RES shared was that although she “sing[s] everyday in the shower,” she hadn’t done a show in a long time. But what she has been for a very long time is a big fan of Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, thus the big announcement… RES is releasing a Fleetwood Mac tribute album this fall, Refried Mac.
RES opened up her set with the Stevie Nicks classic “Edge of Seventeen,” flanked by a four-piece ensemble complete with a keyboardist, drummer, guitarist and bass guitarist. Over the course of about an hour, the production got leaner as RES stripped away the keyboard and bass guitar, leaving just the guitar and a laptop track to accompany her on her performance of “They-Say Vision,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and a new RES creation “Never Be The Same.” By the end of her show, RES succeeded in taking attendees on a musical journey that made us recall why we fell in love with her in the first place, and resolve ourselves to counting the days leading up to her scrumptious Refried Mac return. I’ll be waiting, RES…