Sunday, September 5, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Garde Arts Center
Melissa Etheridge is one of rock music’s great female icons. Her critically acclaimed eponymous debut album was certified double platinum. Etheridge’s popularity built around such memorable songs as “Bring Me Some Water,” “No Souvenirs” and “Ain’t It Heavy” for which she won her first Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal.
Etheridge hit her commercial and artistic stride with her fourth album, Yes I Am, featuring the massive hits “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” a searing song of longing that brought her a second Grammy. The six times platinum album spent more than two and a half years on the album chart.
With fifteen Grammy Awards nominations and two wins, Etheridge is also an Oscar winner for Best Original Song in 2007 from the climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth. In 2011 Melissa made her Broadway debut as St. Jimmy in Green Day’s rock opera, American Idiot, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In fall of 2016, Etheridge released Memphis Rock & Soul, featuring original material as well as interpretations of classic songs from the legendary Stax catalog.
This concert features her latest album The Medicine Show an album of renewal, of reconciliation, of reckoning, of compassion and, most profoundly, of healing, themes that have run through Etheridge’s career, and have fueled her life’s work as an activist for human rights, LGBTQ issues, breast cancer awareness and alternative medical approaches.
With this, her 14th studio album, she brings it all to new levels of artistry. The healing builds on the musical medicine of its two predecessors, 2014’s exuberantly expressive This is M.E. and 2016’s joyous trip through the cherished history of the iconic Stax Records legacy, Memphis Rock and Soul.
The songs of The Medicine Show are inspired by acts of kindness, love, resilience and bravery on all levels. “Human Chain,” with its Memphis soul vibe, is of people coming together to help one in need.
“Right as everything started going crazy in 2017, with the division and racism and hatred coming to the surface, I would find these little stories on Twitter and everywhere,” she says. “There was one with a man in France, I think, stuck in the ocean in a riptide and the water was about to take him, and the people on the beach noticed him and made a human chain and pulled him in. I thought, ‘That’s who we are! I wrote in my notebook, ‘The Human Chain.’ Then I kept it simple with the feel and lyrics. You see something like that and it breaks your heart. We are so much more loving than we are fearful. It’s time to come together.”
The album-closing “Last Hello” draws on the incredible strengths and courage shown by the survivors of the Parkland school shootings. Other songs take a look-in-the-mirror stance about overcoming a wide range of challenges and adversities, of rising above with equal measures of love and fortitude.