Melissa Etheridge

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“The Medicine Show” opens Melissa Etheridge’s album with power, loud guitars and banging drums by producer John Shanks. Etheridge puts out the call like a carnival barker: Let’s all go to the medicine show! It’s an album of renewal, of reconciliation, of reckoning, of compassion and of healing. “Yeah, a lot of healing,” Etheridge says. “Personal healing, national healing, human healing.” These are 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. The songs of The Medicine Show are inspired by acts of kindness, love, resilience and bravery. “Human Chain ”is of people coming together to help one in need. “Last Hello” draws on the strengths and courage shown by the survivors of the Parkland school shootings. She processed the deep fears and hurting she saw in the nation on collective and personal levels (“Shaking” about the national anxiety, “Here Comes the Pain” personalizing the opioid crisis) and the hope for healing she embraces so deeply (the unifying “Human Chain,” the anthemic “Love Will Live”). Other songs are about overcoming a wide range of challenges, of rising above with love and fortitude. Shanks teamed her with drummer Victor Indrizzo, bassist Chris Chaney and keyboardist Max Hart. The sessions were done largely live in studio.

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