On this Wednesday night in December, Meghan Linsey made a visit in Benton Harbor for a small, intimate show with her friend, Sarah Potenza.

Located on 5th Street in the Arts District of downtown Benton Harbor, Michigan is a hand-forged micro brewery that once stood as a horse stable and has been a unique gathering place for residents and travelers for more than a hundred years. This evening, the crowds come for a sample of brews and a show.

The show begins with Sarah Potenza taking the stage with her husband Ian by her side playing guitar. Sarah competed in season eight (spring 2015) on NBC’s reality TV show, The Voice. She won the hearts of many women and became an inspiration to them as she stood on the stage each week with her plus size figure, signature white-framed glasses, unique style, and pure confidence. Sarah often describes herself as a “relentless badass fatass who will never give up.”

During Sarah’s set, she talks with the crowd giving a little history of herself and how her songs came to life. She talks about growing up in Rhode Island and moving to Chicago after college. “Up On The Third Floor” talks of how she learned about people and life while there in her apartment.

“Granddad” is a song dedicated to her husband Ian’s grandfather, and how she hoped that he would approve of her.

Her song, “The Mountain,” speaks about all the challenges of climbing the steps of life.

Adding a little season to her show, she sings her version of “So This Is Christmas” to get everyone into the holiday spirit.

As her show continues, Sarah adds humor between songs that keeps the crowd entertained as she interacts back and forth. She also adds that while on The Voice, she and Meghan roomed together and how they first met; she was like “who is this chick?” After hearing Meghan sing, Sarah knew her roommate was destined for success. Since that moment, they have become very close friends.

Sarah covers a broad range as her songs mix a little country, rock, and blues. But the most special moment comes with her goosebump-raising performance of “Hallelujah.”

Working on recording an album back home in Nashville, she hopes to release her next album Monster in the early part of 2016.

After a short break, Meghan Linsey along with keyboardist John Loyd approach the stage with a large audience applause as she starts her show with her current single, “Counterfeit.”

Meghan finished second in season eight of The Voice. She originates from New Orleans, where she learned her musical skills and toured across Louisiana and Texas with her band since the age of 14, before heading to Nashville to fine tune her music skills. Now Meghan tours all over the country singing her songs and entertaining crowds of all ages.

Just like Sarah, Meghan also takes a moment to describe herself and talk about the songs she was singing. She elaborates about her time on The Voice and the experience she gained. She talks a lot about Blake and the help she received from him. Before singing “Love Runs Out,” Meghan adds how Blake suggested this song to her and how it helped her in the competition.

Next is the title track to her recently released (July 2015) EP, Believer.

Another song that had an impact on her success with the TV show came from Little Big Town called “Girl Crush,” which she sings a cappella. Although feeling a little under the weather and having what she calls a “raspy” voice, she delivers a soulful performance that sends a numbing sensation throughout the body. At the conclusion of the song, the crowd shows their approval with a standing ovation.

Being that the holiday season is upon us, Meghan sings her new Christmas song, “Perfect Time Of Year,” before adding the classic, “Blue Christmas.”

Noting that she struggles with writing upbeat songs, “Sunshine In My Soul” from her days in Steel Magnolia is what she calls one of the happiest songs she has ever written.

“Try Harder Than That” is also upbeat, to which Meghan released a somewhat humorous music video. The song has also received airtime on Sirius XM satellite radio.

A favorite song to Meghan, along with most of Nashville, has come by way of recent superstar Chris Stapleton, and the late George Jones called “Tennessee Whiskey.” This song brings some of the patrons onto the dance floor for a little more room.

As Meghan talks about some of her time on television and other accomplishments, she mentions how cruel the world is and how there are those that are always trying to knock you down with negativity. She wrote “This Side of Heaven” that helps victims of the haters in the world.

Just as Sarah has made comments earlier about Meghan as a roommate during their time together during the competition, now it is Meghan’s turn as she talked about Sarah. After a few stories, Sarah joins Meghan on stage for some more one-on-one playful razzing as the crowd laughs and applauds the stories. It is evident of the love and respect each has for one another and the friendship that has nurtured from them days as roommates.

They end this part of the show with a duet singing of Bonnie Raitt’s classic, “Angel From Montgomery.” At the conclusion, they hug and leave the stage together with the crowd cheering them loudly.

With chants going across the brewery of “Sarah” and “Meghan,” they both return to conclude the evening with one last song, “Have Yourself A Merry Christmas.”

Although the crowd isn’t as large as Meghan and Sarah normally play to in theaters and larger clubs, the intimate performance along with the fan interaction by both ladies made this a crowd favorite and a reason to come back and support them again and again.

To Meghan and Sarah, even though you didn’t win the TV competition, you won the hearts of those in a Benton Harbor club that evening. And sometimes, that is far more than you can receive from any competition.

Meghan Linsey
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Sarah Potenza
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The Livery
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