I’m three shots down when I hear it. 

Ohhhhhhhhhh.

Silence.

Ohhhhhhhhhh.

Not choir Ohs. Nothing delicate or dainty. These Ohs rumble, thick and thunderous, the kind you’d hear while engaging in some zealous tribal ritual around a bonfire.

Drums pound. Tambourines tremble. Piano cascades beneath a robust, arpeggiated voice line that sucks you under like a waterfall.

Everybodys doing it, so why the hell should I?

Vocals cut the chaos. It’s Gin Wigmore singing “Black Sheep” from her 2013 album Gravel and Wine. Her words ring with raspy soul, and you wonder if she downed a shot of Jack Daniels before hitting the studio. It’s the kind of voice that wears a leather jacket, and those shiny black boots with the spurs on the side. Confident and contagious. Potent and powerful.

I wasnt born a beauty queen, but Im OK with that, she sings. Radio wont mind if I sing a little flat.

The lyrics are honest and open, and I’m taken by surprise. I hear healthy standards for body image; I hear a realistic response to flaws. It’s self-acceptance — and it’s refreshing. 

Im a black sheep, Wigmore announces. Im a black sheep.

Black Sheep.      

The phrase catches me off guard. The only “black sheep” I knew was “Baa Baa” — the one my grandmother used to ask for wool, back in my nursery-rhyme years. Yes Sir, Yes Sir, Three Bags Full.

But the phrase has more definitions. Enter: Urban Dictionary — Black Sheep: “Someone who doesn’t follow mainstream ways. Someone who doesn’t care what is in or out.” 

And over a soul-quaking, earth-shaking ensemble of drums and piano, Gin Wigmore screams this. Her words tingle with ballsy confidence — an irresistible invincibility that drags me in. She says, I am who I am. I beat my own drum. Bite me.       

So I’m sitting here, three shots down, my back pressed against the bottom half of a red sofa stained with God-knows-what on the apartment floor of God-knows-who. And I’m hooked — completely hooked. Not just because the drums pound, and the piano thunders. Not just because the vocals soar.

I’m hooked because Gin Wigmore is right. 

“Black Sheep” is a song about self-acceptance. It’s a song about loving yourself for who you are, what you are, and what you stand for. It’s about going to medical school, because that’s your passion. It’s about dying your hair orange, because that’s your color. It’s about moving to the city, because that’s your dream.  Or rocking medical school, dying your hair orange, and then hitting the Big Apple because that’s who you are, and hey — why not?

We all have our own drums.  Hell, let’s pound them.

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