Latasha Lee & the BlackTies

Latasha Lee & the BlackTies

ACL Music Fest 2013 Friday Reviews

Latasha Lee & the BlackTies

With this eponymous 10-track digital release, Latasha Lee & the BlackTies instantly vaunt into the upper echelon of local R&B acts. Lee demonstrates a penchant for sweet throwback soul while carrying herself with B-girl swagger, and that balance of old and new feels just right. Sure, the Gulf Coast import covers buttoned-up Johnny Ace ballad "Pledging My Love," yet she drops her no-good man by chunkin' up deuces on "Watch Me Now." Lilting reggae on "Left Hand Side" arrives radio-ready, and the Motown melody of "Crazy" comes plucked straight out of the Temptations' songbook. Street cred arrives courtesy of guitarist and producer Salih Williams, the man behind H-Town anthems like "Draped Up" (Bun B) and "Sittin' Sidewayz" (Paul Wall), so he has no trouble spotlighting the fact that Ms. Latasha Lee can sing. Her range isn't dynamic, but there's a richness to her tone reminiscent of Lauryn Hill. Like L. Boogie before her, she's got that thing. (11:20am, Austin Ventures stage)

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