Nothing better I would rather do ushering in a new decade than seeing a dynamic live show. It was so good I stayed around for both of Trina Broussard’s magnificent shows at Blues Alley in Washington DC. Like many others, I have been following Trina’s career since her impressive cover of Minnie Riperton’s “Inside My Love” from the Love Jones movie soundtrack in 1997. This is a show that I have been waiting for since then!
A bit of history on Trina:
I was actually in attendance at the record “release” party that So So Def/SONY Records threw at the Atlas night club in Los Angeles for her ill-fated debut CD in 1999, which they mysteriously shelved shortly thereafter. Eventually, I managed to get my hands on a bootleg copy and was thrilled by the treasure that the “powers that be” tried to keep away from me. I was convinced this was one of the greatest R&B recordings of the era that no one ever got a chance to hear. Trina was given a second chance with a Motown released CD in 2004, titled “Same Girl.” Once again, Ms Broussard poured her heart, soul and emotion into a well crafted collection of songs, most of which she co-wrote. Alas, Motown proved no better home for her than So So Def. The release came and left without much impact, except solidifying Trina’s place in my mind as one of our truly unsung R&B female vocalist easily on par with any of her contemporaries. Fortunately, our insightful and astute friends at Expansion Records in the UK saw to it that “Inside My Love” received its official release in 2008. 9 years later, it still is sounds as valid fresh and exciting as when I first found it.
Trina took the stage with a spirited rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Do I Do”. It was a great burst of energy to get the show started, including audience participation right off the bat! Then she eased into one of the most beautiful songs on her debut CD, “Sailing” which she co-wrote with Trey Lorenz. It’s a mellow, flowing tune with a sassy bridge where she can really show her stuff. Another great track form that CD, was “Why Do I Feel So Sad”, which was co-written and later covered by Alicia Keys on her own debut CD as well.
Recalling her background in a musical family, Trina mused about the music she heard growing up, like Earth Wind & Fire and The Emotions. In a fitting remembrance of Michael Jackson, Trina treated us to a lovely version of “Never Can Say Goodbye”. Getting back to her own material, she did the song “Losing My Mind,” which appeared on her first CDs. It is such a great song (co-written with Rahsaan Patterson) that she rescued it for her Motown release.
Trina talked about the rigors of a music career and apologized for not having background singers. The audience didn’t seem to mind – some of us were handling that anyway! She also had us laughing at some of her outside projects when she’s not singing, like making gumbo and selling it at beauty salons – who knew?
We were then given a preview of her forthcoming CD with a song titled “No Pressure” – which was about letting a loved ones know that they have a safe place from their day-to-day hassles. This was beautifully segued into a well received cover of “Giving You The Best That I’ve Got”.
Trina finished the evening with her very own version of “Inside My Love.” She truly does justice to this classic. Overall, she was in fine voice and her spirits were welcoming. She apologized for talking too much, but I found her southern charm engaging and entertaining. She made us feel at ease and it was appropriate for the intimacy of the venue. I only wish she had chosen to do more songs from her fine Same Girl release. Maybe next time.
About the Writer
Michael Lewis is a long-time associate at SoulMusic.com. His industry experience includes Sony Music, Motown and La Face Records, and a tenure at HEAR Music. He is grateful to contribute to sustaining the legacy of R&B and soul music.