Melissa Etheridge new album MEmphis Rock and Soul is a tribute to Stax Records and the rich history of classic Southern soul,. The album is a collection of deep soul covers associated with the original Stax label, including songs recorded by Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, The Staple Singers, William Bell and more. The album also features new, original verses written by Melissa on two of the tracks.
Etheridge showcases her signature rasp and unmistakable guitar prowess on the lead single “Hold On, I’m Coming.” The fierce take on a Sam & Dave standard premiered today on Billboard.
While the original Stax studio is long gone, Etheridge took to another hallowed local spot, Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios (home to Al Green, Ann Peebles and others), to channel the classic Memphis sounds found on these soulful standards. MEmphis Rock and Soul was produced by Willie’s son Boo Mitchell, and features a backing band comprised of Hodges Brothers and other top Memphis musicians who are legends in their own right. Etheridge even recorded with Al Green’s famed RCA 77DX ribbon microphone (“No. 9”). MEmphis Rock and Soul also spotlights the empowering role Stax played in the Civil Rights Movement, a fitting theme for Melissa, who has become a pivotal voice of the modern LGBT rights movement.
Over the course of her 20+ year career, Melissa has won an Oscar and multiple GRAMMY awards, survived breast cancer, and has become a powerful voice for the LGBT movement. Most recently, she penned the song “Pulse,” paying tribute to those lost in the June 12th Orlando shootings, and all proceeds for the song will benefit Equality Florida.