Reneé Austin Band
May 17, 2002
by Rich Benson
Photos copyright © 2002 by Rich Benson, all rights reserved.
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Reneé Austin and her band continued their steady schedule of gaining more exposure by opening up for national acts, opening for the James Solberg Band this evening. Reneé got right into her expressive, powerful singing with her first number, "Little Bit of Texas." She and the band kept up their energy, enthusiasm, and solid playing throughout their 80 minute set. Reneé continues to be probably the top blues and R&B singer in the state with her powerful voice, incredible range, and great energy and enthusiasm on stage. Her band has really come together over the last 6-7 months into a solid, tight large band that can play up-tempo R&B or slow, soulful blues and expressive soul.
Reneé did a mix of original songs and covers, all well chosen to show off the talents of her singing and the depth and talent of her band. Dave Beatty on guitar and vocals, Tim Wick on keyboard, harmonica and vocals, and the horn section of Kevin Nord, Laurie Glaser, and Pee Wee all added much to the bands sound and energy. One original that stood out was "Calling It Quits" where Reneé's strong, expressive vocals were nicely complemented by Laurie and Kevin on their horns. The entire band seemed very tight and together on this song. "I Sure Love You" was another solid original where Reneé played her acoustic guitar as she sang passionately. Dave provided some excellent slide guitar here, as well as some nice vocal harmonies with Reneé. "Fool Moon," which will surely be on their next CD, gave Reneé and the band the opportunity to show off their full range on a torchy, passionate song that has a retro feel to it.
For covers Reneé and the band gave the crowd a great rendition of "Chain of Fools," an enthusiastic reading of "Knock on Wood," and a powerful, soulful version of "Rain." On both these songs and their originals the entire band seemed tight, in synch, and having fun playing off each other and to the crowd. One complaint I had was that some of the excellent keyboard, guitar, and even vocal performances were occasionally drowned out by George on the drums. This appears to have been a soundboard issue, which happens all too frequently. Yet the entire band, including George on drums and Travis on bass gave solid performances. This is a band that is headed for great things based on the progress they have shown, as well as the enthusiasm, energy, and drive of Reneé that keep them pushing forward.
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