My parents divorced when I was 6 years old. I remember my friend’s parents were divorced and she would tell me about it, but I always knew that wouldn’t be me. My little 6-year-old world was in perfect formation and as hard as concrete.
Until my parents split later that next year.
Issues ensued with the split and 6, 7, 8, year old me had some pretty tough situations. This is when music became my pillar. It stabilized me and provided a channel for my emotions. It was always there and it never left. It was my distraction and safety.
We did not have a lot of money and often times our entertainment came in the form of renting movies from Blockbuster. Every now and then Blockbuster would have a sale with all their previously used VHS. My mom would pick out movies and buy them for me, usually for $5 or less. She knew I loved music and she purchased a Reba concert on VHS.
Now, this was not sitcom or even modern Reba. This was early 90’s Reba with red hair ratted to the ceiling, fringe, and too many costume changes to count. To say the least, I was mesmerized.
I watched that VHS many times. Recently, I found the same program on Youtube and I still have it memorized. So when I say that I am a life long Reba fan, I ain’t jokin’ ya’ll.
In that VHS, she opened with Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and sang all her classic songs including “Does He Love You,” “Walk On,” “Take it Back,” “Why Haven’t I Heard From You,” and “Fancy.” It was 90’s Reba at her best and she entertained me for hours on end.
Now let’s fast forward 20 years. A few weeks ago Reba released her 27th studio album entitled Love Somebody. Considering my long history with Reba, I always buy her albums the first day of release. I was really excited about this album since Reba has now moved to the new Nash Icon record label.
This album has everything I want as a Reba fan, but it has an even deeper message for me. I love the sassy tunes like “Going Out Like That,” “Livin’ Ain’t Killed Me Yet,” and “Until They Don’t Love You.” I love the breakup songs like “She Got Drunk Last Night,” “I’ll Go On,” and her duet with Jennifer Nettles, “Enough.” Then she gives us a great story song with “Love Land.” Nobody sings a breakup or story song with the same conviction and emotion as Reba.
“Enough” is a great sequel to Reba’s 1993 hit with Linda Davis, “Does He Love You.” She also recalls and sings another song for her father who has now passed away, “Them Horses.” This is a very different viewpoint than “The Greatest Man I Never Knew.” These are amongst my top favorites.
Although there are two songs on this album that really speak to me both in the past and the present. They are songs of pure love, the title track, “Love Somebody,” and the Reba penned “Pray for Peace.”
That’s exactly how I survived all those years of emotional turmoil through the love of many, but most importantly, my mom. I never once saw her cry. She was a pillar of strength. She never showed me her weakness. She gave up so I could have when it came to clothes, toys, you name it.
She even gave up a couple books to buy me a handful of previously viewed VHS’.
Through her pain, she was able to love somebody and luckily that was me. It’s something I can never repay, but it’s a payment never expected. My mom loves me around the world and back, but secretly I love her around the moon and back.
Then there is “Pray for Peace.” I love Reba’s story for this song. It made me realize where I am now. I am at peace. At 25 I am at peace with my life, relationships, and my potential. I have many struggles I deal with daily, but I’ve made it this far and turning around isn’t even an option.
Through love, I gained peace.
Reba’s music provided a distraction and comfort for a troubled young boy. Her music has also provided commentary throughout my life. It’s a debt many of us owe so many artists who give us a piece of themselves. Thank you, Reba.
I witnessed my mom go down and rise back to the top. One thing I have learned through all of life is how you often get bucked off your horse and get dirt in your hair. You probably even gain a few bruises and have your pride hurt, but in the end, my mom is always a “Survivor.” Reba highlights this in many of her songs over the years and has recently brought this idea full circle for me.
Through her love, my mama taught me to never go out like and that there is always life out there, all with a backdrop of big red hair.