Songs That Matter | Be Thankful for What You Got

Close up of steering wheel inside vintage vehicle
Photo by Malte Wingen

William DeVaughn, “Be Thankful for What You Got”

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written by Elizabeth Dellinger a.k.a. Saint Mercedes

It’s my favorite song because it’s perfect. Two chords. There’s a generous intro. William DeVaughn makes us wait so the vibe has time to work in. He unfurls the truth on a euphonious zephyr.

Though you may not drive
A great big Cadillac…

Singing with others is harmony even when it’s in unison.
It is public intimacy.
It activates love chemicals that heal and unwind, connecting and co-inspiring. By candlelight and smoke of palo santo, I invite the present ones to sing along.
The keys feel good and heavy under my hands; I allow the old wood to pull spirits through the tips of my fingers. They’ve always been too tender for guitar (singer fingers).

Diamond in the back
Sunroof top…

As we ignite in song, I real-ize I’ve triumphed through many hells and my voice is a muse and my tone is a miracle; my instrument is wide open. I’m roaring out my face for beautiful people who are joyous to give and receive. I AM Saint Mercedes (my friends call me Lizz).

A few months earlier, I lost everything I thought I had. I think about the one-too-many nights we slept in a car. I think about being separated from my son for the first time. I recall who I was 4 years ago when I survived devastating cancer surgeries and the paralyzation of my voice. I remember how William DeVaughn’s lyrics have always been there for the heaviest moments to ground me gently, like a sunny Cadillac ride.

But remember brothers and sisters
You can still stand tall…

Yesterday evening, I closed a solo set at the 25th Essence Festival with my favorite song. My son sat in the front row, surrounded by the radiant faces of New Orleans music family who have invited, embraced, and nurtured me as I am. United, we sang the prayer.

Just be thankful for what you got…

Being invited to perform among so many brilliant people is supreme validation of an artistic life well-lived.
I am ever present with gratitude for each minute that turned to years, every scratch, cut and polish.
Forever shine, no matter what.
Always be thankful.
Never give up.

Elizabeth Dellinger—a.k.a. Saint Mercedes—is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and holistic vocal coach. In 2015, she survived a thyroid cancer surgery which left her voice paralyzed. After triumphantly regaining her instrument with the use of one vocal cord, she has reinvented her artistry with a whole new voice. Currently, Saint Mercedes performs and records her original music in New Orleans. The Singing Window Nola (at The House On Claiborne in uptown New Orleans), supports professional vocalists, voice actors, and aspiring musicians of all ages. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and

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