A greatest hits collection of sorts, Resurrection collects material from Rene Solis' three previous discs, the first two as leader of the Bay Area's NiteCry and one fronting his own band, The Persuaders. As an added attraction there are three unreleased tracks from various sessions, two of which feature former bandmate Tommy Castro; all in all the package contains a generous fourteen cuts, with the whole having a revue-style feel thanks to revolving vocalists and supporting players.
Rene favours an urban, uptown style, lots of moody organ and sax to help things along, with a bit of funk and a touch of jazz adding spice. (Those familiar with Mr. Castro's work will know the territory mined here). His guitar work is lean and uncluttered, usually with a clean tone at times reminiscent of B. B. King's, though he often coaxes out a more feral, snarling sound than one expects from Mr. King.
There's much to like here. Rene wrote all the songs (a few with a bit of help from bandmates), showing both a deft lyric touch and a talent for arrangement. Instrumental contributions are generally top-notch (not surprising given the number of sessions culled for the disc, the liner notes list many different participants). Steve Siacotos handles most of the vocals with a natural, unforced sense of blue-eyed soul fuelling his passionate delivery; at times he's not far from Robert Cray at his smoothest. Edward Earl Thomas sings a tune he co-wrote, "Bad Things," with quietly convincing authority. Erik Berg takes three tunes, his gritty growl ("Midnight In Memphis") proving more effective than his attempt at silky soul crooning ("Million Miles Away").
Ultimately, though, the project doesn't quite hit the mark due to weak production. With the sessions obviously done on an indie budget, it's simply not up to the high standards we've come to expect in this idiom. Rough edges are fine when the material is 'down home,' but when the sound is decidedly urban, a somewhat slicker sheen is called for. This one simply lacks that punch that would put it over the top.
Rene's obviously a major talent, and clearly travels in the right circles. I sincerely hope he'll get a chance to showcase his stuff with proper production values; should that happen, he just might see the same level of success Mr. Castro's achieved of late. Given how many efforts there are with better sound, more oomph between the speakers, though, this outing can't really be taken as much more than a very good demo.
But when (and please let it be when, not if)) a major label signs this guy and puts the necessary money into studio time, watch out!!!
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