Renee' hit the stage in a bright red sleeveless dress and immediately turned up the energy of the room with her passionate vocals on "Your Love is Like a See-Saw." Kevin Nord's sax added some nice counterpoints to Renée's vocals. Never one to stand in place, Renee' moves continuously as she sings. She's an impressive singer, with a range and power must be heard to be truly appreciated. Renee' is truly one of the best if not the best female vocalist on the Twin Cities Blues and R & B scene today.
Renee' and the band worked their way through some great covers such as Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," and Tina Turner's "Let It Rain." But it was on their originals where Renee' and the band seemed to shine the brightest and have the most fun. On "One Man" Renee' wowed the crowd with the power of her rich, sultry voice that evoked Tina Turner. Some great B-3 playing by Tim Wick and nice, melodic chords by Dave Beattie made for a great number. The highlight of the evening for me was the little funky blues number "I Sure Love You." Renee' gave the crowd some nice strumming on acoustic guitar along with strong vocals. Her sultry singing in her lower ranges here was impressive. Strong vocal harmonies from the rest of the band on the refrain added to the power of the song. You could tell by Renee' bright smile as she performed this number that she really enjoys showing her full dimensions as a musician by playing guitar. Once again Tim Wick on keyboards and Dave Beattie, with his solid lead, gave Renee' strong support. The band was probably the most together on this song of any all night.
At different times during the evening the band seemed out of synch. While they have only been together a few months, I have seen them twice before since they began playing and this seemed unusual. After the show I learned that they were having technical difficulties with their monitors cutting out. Despite the difficulties, Renee' and the band have a great deal of talent that will only get better as they perform more together. A few times, towards the end of songs, the rest of the band stopped for a moment so Renée's voice could be heard alone. This was effective and something she might want to do more of in the future. The band finished on a high note, both literally and figuratively, as Renee' demonstrated again her energetic, expressive vocals and fantastic range as she delivered the up-tempo R&B of "A Little Bit Higher."
After taking a break from performing for personal reasons, Renee' formed a new band that has been together for only a few months and just began playing local gigs in August. Previously her material consisted of blues and rock which has now evolved into R&B and soul, with a little blues and rock thrown in for seasoning. It's great to see such a terrific singer back on stage fronting her new, larger band with material that really gives her a chance to display all of her vocal talents while also giving her the opportunity to show her instrumental skills. Renee' put together a solid backing band with Tim Wick on keyboards, B-3, and vocals, Dave Beattie on guitar, Kevin Nord on sax, Laurie Glaser on trumpet, Gary Haberman on drums, and Travis Schilling on bass. Travis played with Renee' in her previous band. Renee' and the band can be seen and heard every Sunday night at the Minnesota Music Cafe in St. Paul and at local clubs in the Twin Cities.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Rich Benson, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.