Longtime favourite rock singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge will arrive on Stax Records with an album celebrating the famous company this summer. The Oscar and Grammy-winning artist has signed for the Concord Music Group and will make her debut for the company on the great soul music marque in either August or September, with an album she’s currently recording at Royal Studios in Memphis.
The studio was the longtime recording location of producer Willie Mitchell, who oversaw so many of Al Green’s classic soul recordings there and countless others on the Hi Records label. Willie’s son Lawrence ‘Boo’ Mitchell is engineering Etheridge’s as-yet-untitled project.
The upcoming record will be Melissa’s follow-up to 2014’s This Is M.E., which came out on her own M.E. Records after her departure from her longtime home at Island. She made her debut for them with a self-titled 1988 album that went double platinum in America, triple platinum in her native Canada and platinum in Australia. Huge platinum-selling success followed over many years, most notably with the massively popular Yes I Am album of 1993, which sold six million copies in the US.
The Stax album will feature new versions of classics from the Stax catalogue, celebrating its artists and its key role in the Civil Rights movement. It will feature contributions from many top Memphis musicians including the Hodges Brothers, who were a key part of the city’s sound via their work at Hi.
Concord Label Group president John Burk, who is co-producing the album, says: “We are delighted and honored to welcome Melissa Etheridge to the Concord family. She’s an incredible talent with her own unique blend of rock and soul that’s perfectly suited to interpret some of the classic Memphis repertoire that was foundational to both genres.”
Etheridge adds: “It is such an honor to work with John Burk and Concord Music Group. I can see how well the company serves its artists, and it’s the perfect place for me to make my first musical concept album. Stax is like the Bible of rock ’n’ roll, and to pay tribute to that label, to see the roots of that music and to sing an Otis Redding song is such an amazing experience. I am so thrilled – I can’t wait to get started.”