Melissa Etheridge - 'The Medicine Show'

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Melissa Etheridge - 'The Medicine Show'

The gravelly voiced powerhouse that is Melissa Etheridge has been around since 1988. While serious chart success has eluded her in the UK, it has been no problem across the pond where her first five albums all went platinum in the US and Canada, and three of those records also managed to achieve the same feat in Australia. The combination of her distinctive smoky holler and no-frills Roots Rock song-writing have served her well, and she continues down that path with her fifteenth studio album 'The Medicine Show'.

The title-track opens proceedings with a huge, stomping sing-along anthem which grabs your attention immediately. The enjoyable 'Wild And Lonely' would be a great song to play in the car with the top down, while the grinding 'Shaking' changes the mood completely. 'Woman Like You' swaps the guitar lead lines for a piano and succeeds as a contemporary ballad, but it is firmly put in the shade by the breezy 'Faded By Design' which is a classic slice of Americana with another monster hook in the chorus.

Etheridge has had a roller-coaster of a personal life with both romantic and health ups and downs, and the record mirrors her life experiences. Her impassioned vocals make for a compelling listen as can be evidenced on the lilting 'I Know You', the funky Soul of 'Human Chain', the downbeat 'Here Comes The Pain' and the Modern Rock of 'Love Will Live'. She weaves a variety of styles and moods together wonderfully into a really cohesive release, making it one of those albums where the more you listen, the more you'll change your mind about what your favourite track is.

I'd not encountered a great deal of Melissa Etheridge's work before reviewing this release, but after listening to 'The Medicine Show' a few times, that's something I'll be rectifying in the near future. This is very impressive stuff!

James Gaden

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