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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...6/4/15

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 06/04/2015
"Oh I totally remember it," she said with an enthusiastic laugh. "I even remember where I was. I was rehearsing for my second, no wait, maybe just prior to when my second album was released; my manager came in and said I was nominated for the "Best Rock Vocal Performance Female," or whatever the category was exactly, I don't think it even exists any longer. I never expected it; it was an amazing feeling. It took me until my fourth nomination to win one but it was still unbelievable. Just being there with the other performers and industry people and the parties; it was an honor." 
Those are the words of the incomparable Melissa Etheridge, whose long career has spawned twelve CDs, multiple hits and admiration of many as she described how she felt upon receiving the first of  her seventeen Grammy Award nominations.  
Etheridge has fought many a battle over the years and not just in her struggles to reach and maintain rock stardom, her sexual orientation, the birth of her children and a well publicized bout with breast cancer have all left indelible marks on who she is; not only as a person but also as a performer as well. "My cancer, yeah, it changed everything," she started, speaking in slower more halted tones. "It was the biggest change ever. I'll tell you this; it put me in line with gratitude. I now have such a different view on life, my own health, food, what I put into my body. I pay attention to things more now, it's truly a life changing experience when you face something like that. It definitely made me appreciate life more, set me on a new spiritual path; I am so grateful for everything in my life, more so than ever before. Many people look at it like a curse, I look at it as an awakening and a positive thing; it definitely changed my perspective on life." 
These events are just several which not only shaped Etheridge as a person but as an artist as well. Averaging an "Album about every two years," Melissa openly admits that each and every release is reflective of what was occurring in her life at the time. "Oh Absolutely," she stated emphatically. "Every single one of them have had something to say or reveal about what was happening. Now, not all of the songs were topical; that wouldn't be very likely but If I sat down with you and and went through each song on each album, I could tell you why it was written or what was going on at the time." 
Melissa's latest release "This is M.E.," is a unique collection of tunes which are somewhat contradictory to the title. On this disc she has teamed up with multiple industry heavy weights whose styles are far different from her own. Jerrod Bettis (Adele, One republic), Jon Levine (Nelly Furtado, Selena Gomez), Jerry Wonda (Mary J. Blige) and Roccstar (Usher, Chris Brown) have all had their hand in the making of this latest effort."This album, well, it seems that I've fallen into making a new one every two years; which would explain why I have twelve over the last twenty four years but this one is different. Usually when I sit down to write or have new material in mind, I say I'm going to make it different from previous albums or previous things I've done; then I wind up still sounding like I did twenty years ago (laughs)! This time though, I went way outside the box to achieve something that is very different from what I've done in the past. I used these guys to prevent me from falling into the same routine. I'd get an idea or have something down and I'd say, "OK, what do you have for me?" Then they would come up with these ideas in their own styles and I would keep working with it until it eventually morphed into a rock song that sounded like nothing I'd done before. The whole process was just amazing. Then I heard Jerry Wonda and I thought, wow I really need to play with that band and I did and it's on the DVD. They are so talented, everyone who helped on this album is so talented." 
The tour supporting the new disc kicks off on Wednesday June 10 in Chattanooga, TN including two shows in New Jersey; the first on June 12 at Caesar's Atlantic City and the second being June 17 at the restored and renovated Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. Both of the shows in the Garden State will be solo acoustic presentations as Melissa gathers her road legs under her during the first month of this five month road show. Etheridge will be making both full band, as well as solo acoustic presentations on this jaunt which has her crisscrossing states at times but none the less enthusiastic. "Yeah, Monday is the first show. I had a few obligations at home first to take care of; my oldest daughter is graduating high school; which I can't believe that's happening already. It seems such a short time ago she was small and suddenly, wow. My other kids are finishing up school for the summer too, so I had to get that all wrapped up and now I'm ready to go. This tour is just about half or right around half solo and full band shows. The Count Basie and Atlantic City shows are solo but are different from what you may expect. I'm going to be surrounded by eight to ten guitars on stage and I'm using a few looping tracks to fill things up a bit; it's definitely more rocking than you'd expect from just a solo acoustic act. I'm doing my hits as well as a few new ones and a lot of the old favorites. The funny thing about a solo acoustic act is that it takes a real kind of crazy person to get out there and do this solo (laughs). I played for five years out in L.A. as a solo acoustic artist so I'm used to it but I particularly like it because I feel I've got more freedom, more spontaneity to change things up without having to worry about dragging the others with me. I can change up the song based on what I'm feeling at that moment and not worry about surprising anyone in the process; it's liberating at times."  
Etheridge couldn't definitively recall whether she's ever made a stop in the Count Basie Theatre before but she had no problem recanting her "Bucket List" appearance with Jersey's native son Bruce Springsteen. The enthusiasm gushed forth from her openly when questioned about a duet she recorded with "The Boss" of his song "Thunder Road," years back during an "Unplugged" episode for MTV. "That ranks as one of the top five things that I have ever done; performing with him was awesome," she stated with obvious satisfaction."It is no secret that I am a huge fan of his. Back in '94 I was asked by MTV to do one of their "Unplugged" shows and a few days day before, they asked me who I'd like to do a duet with and I said, "Springsteen," of course never thinking he'd say yes. He said,"Yes" the very next day and I was just floored. I had never really met him and when he came walking in for the sound check we tried "Thunder Road," which I'd been doing in some of my sets anyway and it just meshed perfectly. He was just so cool about it all and that video has gotten so much mileage; it was one of the neatest things I've ever done." 
Seemingly content and with so much going right for this now veteran rocker; Etheridge still seems to carry the excitement of her youth with her as she discusses her career and upcoming events. "This tour is going to be so much fun," she stated. "Between the solo stuff and the band shows; we are playing at some big festivals in Ohio and Michigan where we are co-headlining with Blondie and they're fantastic so it's going to be a great summer!" 
To discover more about Melissa Etheridge and  to see her complete tour schedule, or to purchase tickets; please go to
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!


Alchemist & Barrister

28 Witherspoon Street Princeton

(609) 924-5555


Thurs. 10 p.m. Chris & Tommy's Good Time Show

Sun. 9 p.m. The Beagles

All shows 21+


Amarones Windsor Inn

29 Church St. Windsor

Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info


(609) 448-7144


Thurs. 6:30 p.m. "Country" Ron Crites

Fri. 8 p.m. Lonnie Youngblood

Sat. 8 p.m. Meg Hanson Band feat. Billy Hill

Tues. 8 p.m. Ambiance the Duo

Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info


Blend Bar & Bistro

911 Highway 33, Hamilton

(609) 245-8887


Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam 


The Backstage at Championship Bar 

931 Chambers St. Trenton


Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info

Fri. 4 p.m. The Bunny The Bear, Reckless Serenade, Doing Better, Divination, Disaffect, Ingdorf, The Things They Carried, Dreams Of Demise. All ages, $12/$14

Sat. 5 p.m. (TBA). All ages, $10


Candlelight Lounge 

24 Passaic St. Trenton

(609) 695-9612


Sat. 3 p.m. Landom Brothers Drum & Alto Sax Quartet. (No cover-$10 minimum)


Chesterfield Inn

633 Arneytown Chesterfield Road Chesterfield


Fri. 9 p.m. SF Acoustic Trio


Chickie's & Pete's

183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown

(609) 298-9182


Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. The Dawgs

Wed. 9 p.m. Trivia Night


City Streets

Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info

510 Route 130 South East Windsor

(609) 426-9400


Sat. 9 p.m. Gyrl Band


Dog & Bull Brew House

810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.

(215) 788-2855


Thurs. 8 p.m. Dane Rosenfeld

Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour Jam" feat. David Dzubinski Group (9 p.m.) Johnny Moskal

Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch Jam" feat. David Dzubinski Group (9 p.m.) Visoon

Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Dick Gratton (3 p.m.) Soul Custody Trio

Mon. 8 p.m. The Jangle Experience

Tues. 8 p.m. Sister Blue

Wed. 8 p.m. Mia Johnson


Dubh Linn Square 

167 Rte. 130 North Bordentown

(609) 298-7100


Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info

Thurs. Ladies Night

Sun. 4 p.m. Irish Sessions

Mon. Military Day


Fran's Pub

116 S. Main St. New Hope, PA.



Thurs. 9 p.m. Curtain Call

Sun. 3 p.m. Laurie Vosburg & 519 South

Mon. 8 p.m. Open Blues Jam

All shows 21+  


Havana New Hope

105 S. Main Street. New Hope, Pa. 

(215) 862-9897


Thurs. 10 p.m. "Thirsty Thursday Beat The Clock" DJ Dance Party

Fri. 8:30 The Loop

Sat. 8:30 p.m. Slamm

Sun. 2 p.m. Midnight Sun Orchestra

Mon. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron

Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info

Wed. 8 p.m. Pat Foran & Friends 


Ivy Tavern 

3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton

(609) 888-1435


Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke

Fri. 10 p.m. The Ernie White Band

Sat. 10 p.m. Tangled

All shows 21+


John & Peter's 

96 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.

(215) 862-5981


Thurs. 9 p.m. Collin J Rocker

Fri. 8 p.m. Midnight Sun Music Festival

Sat. (3 p.m.) Scott Ellison (8 p.m.) Midnight Sun Music Festival

Sun. 3 p.m. Brian Dolzani  

Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. w/ Chris

Tues. 9 p.m. Perennial Reel

Wed. 9:30 p.m. The Invitational

All shows 21+


JoJo's Tavern

2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton

(609) 586-2678


Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke


Olde Nottingham Tavern

9 Mercer Street Hamilton

(609) 890-9818


Sat. 9 p.m. Paul Plumeri Blues Band


Paint the Roses Tea and Café

37 West Broad Street Hopewell

(609) 466-8200


Sat. 11 a.m. Bryan Hill


Palermo's Of Hamilton

310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton

(609) 838-7979


Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke

All shows 21+ 


Patriot's Crossing

1339 River Rd. Titusville

(609) 737-2780


Fri. 7:30 p.m. Sensei Juan & The Black Belts

Sat. 7:30 p.m. The Back Porch Jug Band


Randy Now's Man Cave

134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown

(609) 424-3766


Check site for upcoming events


 RHO Waterfront

50 Riverview Plaza Trenton

(609) 393-7300


Thurs. 10 p.m. College Night Dance party w/ DJ Paul Desisito

Fri. (4 p.m.) Happy Hour Buffet. $10 (8:30 p.m.) Kindred Spirit

All Shows 21+

Tavern On The Lake

101 Main St. Hightstown

(609) 426-9345


Fri. 9 p.m. (TBA)

Sat. 9 p.m. (TBA)

Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night 


The HOB Tavern

146 Second Street

(609) 291-7020


Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke


The Ivy Inn

248 Nassau St. Princeton

(609) 921-8555


Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron

Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Fatha Ramzee

Sat. 10 p.m. Twisted Charm

Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv

Wed. 8:30 p.m. Tune Trivia (10:30 p.m.) DJ Rockn Ron


The Millhill Basement

300 South Broad St Trenton

(609) 989-1600


Check web page for upcoming shows


The Record Collector

358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown

(609) 324-0880


Fri. 8 p.m. Christine Ohlman & The Rebel Montez. All ages, doors at 7:30 p.m., $20 (advance) 


The Sticky Wicket 

2465 South Broad St. Hamilton

(609) 439-0007


Fri. 9 p.m. Gunsmoke

Sat. 9 p.m. No Way Out


The Sun National Bank Center 

81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton

(609) 656-3200


Check web site for upcoming events


Tilted Kilt 

557 US Hwy. 130 North, Hamilton

(609) 585-1800


Sat. 9 p.m. Class A Kings


Tir Na Nog 

1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton

(609) 392-2554


Fri. 9 p.m. David Falcone

Sat. 9 p.m. Diarmuid McSweeney

Sun. 3 p.m. "Irish Sessions" w/ Kathy D'Angelo & Bill Gormley

All shows  21+

Trenton Buzz

702 Pine St. Trenton

(609) 392-6000


Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic. w/ Hek Cat


Trenton Social

449 South Broad Street Trenton

(609) 989-7777


Thurs. 8:30 p.m. Cinema Thursday Presents:  (TBA)

Fri. 7 p.m. First Friday

Mon. 10 p.m. Service Industry Night w/ DJ-Jay Kountree 

Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic.


Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)

400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.

(215) 862-8300


Fri. 10 p.m. Alycat. ($5 cover charge)

Sat. 10 p.m. Somebody's Darling. ($5 cover charge)

Sun. 7 p.m. Open Jam Night

All shows 21+


Wildflowers Inn

2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington

Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock 

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.



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