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Melissa Etheridge feels at home on the road

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Melissa Etheridge has started to record her next album, the follow-up to 2010's "Fearless Love." But while some artists would stay off tour during that process, Etheridge can't resist the lure of the road.

"I like to keep out there, keep busy," explains the Kansas native, who's won a pair of Grammy Awards and an Oscar, the latter for the song "I Need to Wake Up" from the 2006 documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." "Money's a part of it, but I like to just keep playing at least once a month.

"Being out there keeps me in touch with my music and in touch with the fans and in touch with what I'm doing and why I love to do what I do. I think that makes the albums better, because I go and do that."

Etheridge says she has more than 20 songs -- "kinda rockin' tunes, soulful tunes, all kinds of stuff" -- for the new album, which she hopes to finish during the summer and have out later this year or early next. Meanwhile, she and "Nurse Jackie" co-creator Linda Wallem are collaborating on a musical that Etheridge says is halfway done.

"I keep talking about it," says Etheridge, 50, who did a week-long stint on Broadway playing St. Jimmy in "American Idiot." "I keep going, 'OK, after this album, I'll talk about it some more..' It needs to get done, but it's just me and Linda, and we have our day jobs that keep it really busy.

"But I want to do it right and make it be something that lasts." Etheridge describes it as "more along the lines of a classic musical, yet more of a rock musical." As to what it's about, she says "New York City. Piano bars. That's all I'm going to say until we finish it." Melissa Etheridge performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Blvd., Detroit. Tickets are $85, $75 and $65. Call (313) 237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.

Web Site: www.motorcitycasino.com

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