Album Reviews

Melissa Etheridge

MEmphis Rock And Soul

Artist:     Melissa Etheridge

Album:     MEmphis Rock And Soul

Label:     Stax/Concord

Release Date:     10/07/2016

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In the late 1980s, Melissa Etheridge opened a show for Bruce Hornsby. She stomped onto the stage with the hunger and grit of an artist waiting for the world to discover something special. She ruled the stage. Her power was apparent. Over time, the power never waned but the hunger sometimes hid its face. On Memphis Rock and Soul, grit, power, and hunger reunite to create a rockin’ tribute that dispels any questions about Melissa Etheridge’s real roots and influences.

She belts, howls, and prances through classics like “I’ve Been Loving You too Long,” giving it the honest feeling of Otis or even Lorraine Ellison, yet tempers it with a soaring beauty the vocal demands. Recording lesser-known classics like “Memphis Train,” using Al Green’s personal microphone, the gritty soul of her voice punches the air with intensity. Etheridge trades her soul chops easily for the rowdy blues of BB King’s “Rock Me Baby” with help from a searing guitar solo from John Mayer. She evokes Mavis Staples as she passionately demands that we all stand up and respect ourselves .

Yes, Melissa Etheridge is back, roots, sweat, and all her perfect imperfections completely out in the open. As she closes the record with “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember,” there’s no doubt that she’s bringing those dreams to fruition.

-Gene Knapp

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