Ready, Reset, Go

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 18 | Posted Oct. 5, 2010

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After talking it over with mom Denise Ballard, Res packed up and headed back east, moving into a house with her mom in Southwest Philly. “I needed her and she needed me,” she says.

“I’m seeing her more now since she’s back home, but she’s doing a lot of shows so she’ll leave and then she’ll come back,” says Ballard.

“She’s still busy and relatives still only see her on holidays because if she’s doing a show,” sighs Ballard, “she’s out the door.”

Res says her first year back in Philly was particularly hectic. “I was doing a lot of back and forth with spot dates in Atlanta, Chicago and D.C.,” she says. “I was living here, but never planted my feet here.”

When she first arrived back in Philly, friends connected her to producer Tom Spiker and they began working on a dream EP: a collection of Fleetwood Mac covers titled ReFried Mac.

Res loves Stevie Nicks. Her guitar sports a sticker that says “Fleetwood Black,” the name Res gave a band she started once for fun.

Pretty much anytime she was home for the rest of 2008 into 2009 Res was babysitting her nephews. When she wasn’t home, she was finshing up Idle Warships’s Party Robot, flying out to perform one-off solo gigs and Idle Warship dates.

Now things seem to be calming down. The ReFried Mac EP is ready to go. A second EP, BARE, a collection of covers and lo-fi interpretations of Res originals that she’s been recording with producer Dan “Danophonic” Raaf in West Philly’s Lower Level studio, is almost done.

The hold-up is that Res wants to add strings to the tracks, but that’s beyond the budget. They hired a keyboardist to try to plunk in pizzicato notes, rummage around, see what might work.

“I’m learning how to be indie the hard way, by wanting one thing and figuring out another way to do it,” she says.

This past January, another death pushed Res closer to home.

Canadian musician David “Soulfingaz” Williams, who played on How I Do, died unexpectedly in his sleep. Martin “Doc” McKinney, who produced the album reached out to Res to come up and play a benefit concert. When they performed on stage together, the next logical step snapped into focus.

“We should have been working together forever,” says Res. “I realized that’s who I need to be making albums with period, like Sade makes albums with Sweetback, and that’s it.”

They hit the studio and began working on Reset.

“It’s about getting back to business,” says Res. “We know people love to do what we do, so let’s do it.”

So she spent a lot of this year traveling to back and forth to Toronto writing and recording at Doc’s home studio. The style of Reset reflects where the singer is at in her career and life: A bit raw. Stripped down. Singer-songwriter, even.

“I named this album Reset because I’m trying to let people know something new is coming,” she says.

It’s a recent Sunday night, the launch of the Reset residency. Local band Suspect 9 warmed up the crowd as they ducked in from the rain.

A woman with huge Urkel glasses and braids can’t wait. Her name is DJ Aura and she’s been a fan for a long time.

“Res’s first album was life-changing,” she gushes. “Around 2001, I saw her on HBO’s Reverb with Mos Def, and then I got the album. I recently heard she’s back in Philly so I’ve been following her.”

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Comments 1 - 18 of 18
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1. Anonymous said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 06:26AM

“Thank you! Great Article on Indie Artist -Res ! I love the Philly music scene but it seems like the RB aspect gets all the love thanks for showing that Black.Girls.Rock!
Cant wait to check out Res at Silk City”

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2. Anonymous said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 06:55AM

“I've been listening to her for years, and I love her sound and style. It's good to see her getting some love around here.”

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3. tayyib said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 08:00AM

Go! Boo!”

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4. Drumaddict said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 08:27AM

“I personally got to work hang and tour w Resee in her LA beach days and just last week on my NY visit I saw her throw down in Brooklyn plus a couple months back at the temple bar. One artist /friend where I always bring atleast 5 cats w me. By the end of the night they buy her album and I say "I told you so" ;) and I will support my DIY girl always. This article is amazing - well deserved and Reset is going to be off the hook! I'm so very proud of u. Props to the Writer Tara M. foo ;)”

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5. shellyshell said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 10:56AM

“I have been a Fan of Res for a while, loved her first album, look foward to her new album . Hope Philly Weekly will keep her fans info about her shows in philly, will be check her out at silk city on sunday”

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6. HOUSE OF VIBE said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 12:43PM


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7. Anonymous said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 01:32PM

“awesome article. dope artist. glad to see indie folks who are doing it the unconventional way getting shine. i'll definitely be at RESET on sunday and you should too.”

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8. Preach Jacobs said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 02:15PM

“great article about a great artist. i look forward to her being back on a major getting the massive attention she so clearly deserves.”

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9. Tasha from LA said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 03:28PM

“Love Res glad to see she is moving around out there ..... I still rock How I Do everyday ..... and BLACK.GIRLS.ROCK! her 2nd album makes me smile ..... Idle Warship keeps me grooving ..... Hey Res you need any help I will do it for FREE to see you get what you deserve .... A true artist !!!!!!!! Glad to hear you went home to create ... I know it will be dope ..... Keep us posted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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10. Rah M. Sungee said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 04:56PM

“great article, hard struggles and hard work will only yield great success in the future. the universe is based on balance! keep the music coming.”

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11. Michael Bell Sr. said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 05:29PM

“Great article,It made her real. I say that because she never has gotten the publicity she rightfully deserves. You know, enough so that you could feel her,connect. I first saw her years ago on the HBO show Reverb along with Craig David and Sunshine Anderson. She was a breath of fresh air because she had found and was in her own lane. I appreciated her creativity, her strength as an artist and naturally as a person which she has proven by being able to weather the storm. I must admit, I was a bit concerned about her at one point in her career. I thought she was about to walk away from what she had already accomplish but, she didn't. Now that I have read this article, I now know that needn't be a concern any more.
I love her and I'm very proud of her for getting back to the reason she sings.
Thank you for such an insightful article”

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12. Taj said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 10:06PM

“I can't wait to see where her grind will take her, and I`ll definitely be following along the way. Don`t leave us hanging, PW - I want to hear more!”

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13. Cooke said... on Oct 7, 2010 at 12:04PM

“Great article tara - feel like I know the artist thru your writing. Really shows be thankful what you have at the time. I wish her success!”

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14. Priceless Hustle said... on Oct 7, 2010 at 06:22PM

“great article about a great artist. and she's looking beautiful as usual...cant wait until RESet...hope to see her featured more in the future...RES, keep doin ya thing..for us!”

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15. Jay said... on Oct 13, 2010 at 04:54PM

“Loved Black.Girls.Rock and it was pretty sweet to buy the CD directly from the artist. Had a fab time at her Atlanta gig just wish it had been longer!”

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16. akandabody said... on Oct 15, 2010 at 12:18AM

“I'm so happy to hear that Res is taking charge "making herself comeback", as supposed to "making a comeback", if you will. Not only do i enjoy your music, but i appreciate how you are showing other young African American girls that by being determined and taking initiative you can do and be whatever you want in this world. Of course I have to close by saying Black. Girls. Rock. What u didn't know!!!”

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17. Anonymous said... on Oct 19, 2010 at 06:11AM

“I've loved Res' work from the beginning. I'm already on my second Black.Girls.Rock cd because I scratched the first one from listening to it so much. I saw her at SouthPaw in Brooklyn last year, and at Blue Note the year before. If I wasn't living in NY I'd be at Rest every week. She is a great artist you is incredibly underrated. Show your support, buy her records and t-shirts on her website and go see her weekly shows.”

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18. Anonymous said... on Dec 9, 2010 at 10:14AM

“Res is going to be at Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown this Friday, December 10th from 7-8:30pm for a CD Release Party. Come meet Res, see a live performance, and enjoy wine and cheese. CDs on sale now and at the door! For more info visit or call 215-481-0800”


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