Sidestreet Reny (J. Renard Collette) - Vocals, Guitar, production and songs
Lil’Bel (Maribel Landaetta) - Drums, Vocals, Washboard, precussions
Sidestreet Reny & Lil’Bell are something, well, unique. He’s a beautiful guitar player, really squeezing every drop of soul out of that tinny, wild-sounding instrument with the metal pie-plate top. But he’s a helluva a singer and songwriter too. And he comes at it from his beginnings as a rap artist, so his songs tend to have a modern-zeitgeist, social-protest bent (lyrically), coming at you through that gut-bucket, gut-wrenching ’30s resonator guitar sound that feels dirt-poor, mad and about 100 years old. It’s an odd mix. When Reny really gets going, he stomps his foot in a frightening, raise-twist-slap-down manner that makes you fearful he’ll break something (like his ankle). Reny’s wife, Lil’ Bell, really is lil’ (about 4 foot 11, and all of maybe 90 pounds). But she can play the drums like a ring in a bell and sing like a bird, the perfect accompaniment to Reny’s spare, brimstone performances. Somehow they manage to forge their own sound and push musical boundaries in an era when many other musicians strive to sound the same.
Reny’s father died of a heroin overdose when Reny was only 3yo, Reny later fought his own battles with drug addiction subsequently leading to an overdose and Juvenile Detention by 14yo. A high school drop out left to his own demise. From punk shows (12yo) to hip hop clubbing (13yo) to chasing the Grateful Dead (14yo) or living on his own in Europe at 16yo to skateboarding competitively and working as a professional rap artist (major label releases Brian McKnight, Vanessa Williams). Reny has lead and continues leading the kind of life that deserves to be written about... and that he does, with an honest poetic voice and passionate conviction.