Melissa Etheridge knows the nation needs a break from the its unstable political and social climate. She’s hoping to do her part to ease that pain with “The Medicine Show Tour,” which comes to the Chandler Center for the Arts on Saturday, July 13.
“If you’ve heard any of my ‘The Medicine Show’ album, you know I’m still rocking,” Etheridge says.
“This time, we’re going to do the hits, as we always do. They will be surrounded by choice songs from ‘The Medicine Show’ and some deep album tracks. It’s mostly a show about feeling better. We’ve been through a lot in the last couple years. Wherever you land in this big spectrum of the discussion we’re all having, it’s stressful and we need to take care of ourselves. Music can be medicine and my whole purpose is to make people feel better.”
Her tour’s namesake, the album “The Medicine Show,” deals with universal themes of renewal, reconciliation, reckoning, compassion and healing. Through the songs, she processed the deep fears and hurting she saw in the nation on collective and personal levels: “Shaking” about national anxiety; the unifying “Human Chain” about the hope for healing; and the anthemic “Love Will Live.” More highlights include the album-closer, “Last Hello” drawing on the incredible strengths and courage shown by the survivors of the Parkland school shootings, and the infectious “Wild and Lonely,” and “Faded by Design,” exploring themes of her past with a new perspective.
“When I was making ‘The Medicine Show,’ I was concentrating on writing songs that people can share in their lives,” she says.
“That’s what I’ve always done. That’s been my life’s bread and butter. I’m so grateful for that. I wanted to look around and I wanted to see where we all are at in 2017, 2018 and I wanted to comment on it. I didn’t want to bring us down. I wanted to bring us up and acknowledge some of the issues and things we were struggling with now like the opioid crisis and gun violence. I wanted to make it personal, not preach.”
With more than 25 million albums sold worldwide, five platinum and three multiplatinum records, and 15 Grammy Award nominations and two Grammy wins, Etheridge worked with producer John Shanks on her 15th studio recording.
Ethridge is looking forward to playing Chandler, especially in front of the former naysayers who now support her. She’s primarily referring to men who didn’t think she could “rock.”
“I’ve seen many more men at my shows,” she says. “They’re really starting to go, ‘This girl can actually play.’ They’re starting to dig it.
“I think I just stuck in there long enough to prove it to them. I’m not this Lilith Fair easy listening sort of gal. It’s about rock ‘n’ roll. Women can rock.”
Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, 480.782.2680, chandlercenter.org, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 13, $72-$112.