Melissa Etheridge is about writing her truth.
It’s the way the Grammy and Oscar winner has tackled each piece of music during her career.
So why would she change the process for her new album, “The Medicine Show,” released on April 12?
“I started thinking about it at the end of 2016 and worked on it through 2017,” Etheridge says during a recent interview. “After the election in 2016, it was a like an emotional slap in the face, and it took some time for me to process my words in the right way. There’s hope in the world.”
Etheridge will perform a sold-out show at The Showroom at Isleta Resort & Casino on Saturday, Nov. 9.
“The Medicine Show” is Etheridge’s 15th album.
Etheridge dived into creating new songs, holing up in a Nashville, Tennessee basement studio owned by her friend, bassist David Santos.
Working alone, she created music for 11 tracks, then went home and wrote lyrics and the songs came into shape.
Through the songs, she processed the deep fears and hurting she saw in the nation on collective and personal levels and the hope for healing she embraces so deeply with the empathetic depths for which she’s known, framing it all with songs as intimate as she’s ever written.
She says the songs are inspired by acts of kindness, love, resilience and bravery on all levels.
“Human Chain” is about people coming together to help one in need.
The album-closing “Last Hello” draws on the incredible strengths and courage shown by the survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.
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.
“I take it very seriously,” she says of songwriting. “This is my job and my contribution. There’s gratitude, and I’m so grateful.”
Etheridge used to live in New Mexico and looks forward to getting back to perform in the state.
“I was just talking about (New Mexico) the other day,” she says. “I love the food, and we took a little vacation this summer through Sedona and to Santa Fe. I taught my kids what sopaipillas are. I can go to Geronimo’s and eat, like, 10 of them.”