Melissa Etheridge has come a long way since her first success as a singer/songwriter in 1988. With fifteen studio albums to her name and a list of awards that would make anyone jealous, Etheridge’s raspy vocals and poignant lyrics are enough on their own to make her iconic. But she’s also a cancer survivor and an activist for gay rights and the environment.
It’s these two latter roles that inform her recently released album, “The Medicine Show.”
“In 2016 I began to notice people everywhere going through interesting times,” said Etheridge in a recent phone interview. “I didn’t want to preach, but wanted to keep a finger on the pulse and reflect that in my music. There are a lot of people in pain out there.”
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, Etheridge was in a better position than most to understand how important plant-based medicines are to assist in the healing process while experiencing a painful illness. In 2014 Etheridge opened Greenway Compassionate Relief, a cannabis dispensary in Santa Cruz, specializing in CBD-infused wines. “My experience with breast cancer is part of everything I do,” says Etheridge. “From my music to my health and wellness.”
The Medicine Show album, and specifically the tracks, “Faded by Design,” “Here Comes the Pain,” and “Last Hello” have a strong message of finding wellness in plant-based medicines like medical marijuana. The album also has tracks addressing the national opioid crisis and commemorates the victims of the Parkland shooting.
With all this new messaging, you may be nervous there won’t be time for classics like “I’m the Only One,” and “Come to My Window.” But Etheridge knows how to keep a crowd happy.
“I plan to do songs you know and love. Then we’ll throw in some new songs from Memphis Rock and Soul [a cover album showcasing soul and blues greats] and The Medicine Show. And I’ll perform some deep album tracks, too. The show is different every night, so you can come to more than one performance and not get bored,” says Etheridge. Sadly, there is only one performance scheduled at the Wellmont.
Etheridge is excited to visit the Garden State. “My favorite thing about New Jersey is how much it loves its Rock and Roll,” says Etheridge. “Unabashed love for Rock and Roll is an important ingredient that makes New Jersey what it is. I can tour here every year and I love it every time.” Etheridge is a well-known fan of Bruce Springsteen, and has been known to cover “Born to Run” and “Thunder Road” during live performances. She’s not saying whether she’ll cover any Springsteen songs at the Wellmont so it can be a surprise.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your tickets for the April 13 show before it sells out.
5 Seymour St., Montclair, N.J., 07042
Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 8 p.m. EST
Every pair of tickets purchased includes a “Medicine Show” digital download or CD