I wrote recently about resolutions, birthday resolutions specifically which got me thinking about whether I wanted to make New Year’s Resolutions this year. I only made one at the beginning of 2017. My husband and I resolved to go see more live music. Last September, we went to a phenomenal concert. Corinne Bailey Rae and Alabama Shakes at the Portsmouth Pavilion.

That night rocked our worlds inside out. I had only seen Corinne Bailey Rae once in Maryland (she opened for John Legend years ago) and I have the fondest memories of sitting on the grass, swaying and swinging along to her first album with my cousin Kim.

With those memories, I knew to expect greatness. However, this time there was a freedom in her performance. She owned the stage. Her figure could easily be described as wispy but I saw power as she sang and played her guitar, bringing me back to listening to countless hours of her first album, Like A Star, on replay, thinking “Trouble Sleeping”  was written for me and spellbound by the lyrics to “Enchantment”: “I’d tightrope walk with a blindfold on my eyes.”

Brittany Howard, front woman for Alabama Shakes, blew me away with her guitar solos, singular rock-gospel goddess voice that made me ashamed for not knowing all of the words to her songs.  After we left the concert, we vowed to have more nights like this, to make what felt like necessary room for nights like this.

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And a little over a year later, we have been to several shows, a couple whom we weren’t even familiar with and plan to see the legendary Ms. Jackson next month. But what stays with me is the night we saw two women, two beautiful Black women, one Southern, one British pour their light out and reawaken the childlike spirit in me that just needs to sing along until my throat dries up and dance until my legs fold beneath me.

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