"Lady"The easy thing to do would be to tag Terri Walker and Nicole Wray (aka Lady) as throwbacks. And to a certain extent it’s true. There are definitely elements of MotownStax and Blue Note. But what distances them from their contemporaries is their ability to fill in the blanks with their own experiences – veteran producers Leon Michels and Jeff Silverman of Truth & Soul Records make sure of that. The only issue is that every song tries to be a hit, which needlessly dilutes aspects of their writing. A little bit of growth will change that. And as it stands right now it couldn’t be a better starting point. Here are five examples that reflect their seemingly endless upside.

Tell The Truth

Tell The TruthThe Truth & Soul fingerprints are all over this doo-wop inspired groover. It’s a change of pace to hear Wray and Walker instead of Lee Fields, but they sound right at home – a modern fit that works for everybody. Hearing them achieve perfect harmony makes their bittersweet musings an easy listen worthy of multiple plays. They want the truth – yearn for it really – and it drapes the emotions like a warm blanket: [LISTEN]

Tell the truth if you want to make it
No more givin’ I’m takin’
Cause I’ve had enough of you

Money

MoneyLady are independent, strong, and emotionally vibrant – all the things that make women as wonderfully complex as they are. But to hold that sort of independence Walker and Wray’s had to work hard for it. And no guy is about to disrupt that flow. This is a white-knuckle warning that says if you don’t have money you better not come looking here, a simple statement meant to deter lowlife chumps with no vision: [LISTEN]

Can’t wait, can’t wait
To roll with me to the bank
But I wait, yes I wait
I think I’ll go out on a date

Get Ready

Get ReadyAs soon as that bassline rolls in you know you’re in trouble. Lady’s hard shell gets harder with adversity, and when things get rough they punch back. Wray’s voice has a great crackle to it, and just when it seems like it might be too much Walker comes through on the back end with a firm, but subtle embrace. It’s a shame that she doesn’t take the lead more on this one, but overall the direction of the song is strong, making this their biggest hit: [LISTEN]

They who would crucify me
For being a believer
Sometimes I see what they see
See they don’t believe

Good Lovin

If You Wanna Be My ManWhen you’re as confident as Lady is, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have a checklist of expectations for potential suitors. The self-empowerment posed here is refreshing. They don’t over-flex. What they want is a fella who can bring the magic all night. It’s decisive and firm, and to be honest why settle for anything less? [LISTEN]

He makes me feel just like a woman
With him I’ll know I’ll be alright
He does not stop until it’s over
Hot steam is made all night

Waiting On You

Waiting On You

One of the knocks on this album is the repetitive hooks. They bog down the lyrics, transforming the narrative into a series of declarative punchlines. Each song is trying to be a hit, and when that happens it all tends to gravitate towards the middle. Walker should have taken the lead on this one. She’s not as strong a vocalist as Wray, but her tender voice better suits this style. In doing so they could have used this song as a teaser for things to come: [LISTEN]

Someday we may meet
Far away from friends
Nothing in our way
Just us face to face