Melissa Etheridge, the iconic folk rock singer-songwriter and Grammy Award winner, is kicking off the Durham Fair’s weekend entertainment with a concert on Friday, Sept. 28.
“People love live music at a fair, I’ve always enjoyed playing them,” Etheridge said during an interview with “On the Record: Music” earlier this week.
“Usually I get families that show up,” she said. “People have been out all day, they’ve been having fun.”
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Etheridge’s mainstream breakthrough album, “Yes I Am.” The album includes “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” which are still on rotation at many radio stations that include 90s songs in their format.
She’s gearing up for a “Yes I Am” celebratory tour that will take her through the South this fall.
“We’ll be doing the entire album along with lots of other hits,” she said.
But she won’t be resting on her laurels for long. She’s working on an album, slated for release next year, looking at what’s been happening in society during the last few years.
“No need to preach,” she said. “We’re all screaming and hollering enough. It’s about the whole experience, getting inside the emotional experience.”
Etheridge’s career spans more than 30 years. As her songs progressed from love, sex and betrayal to growing social awareness, her diagnosis of breast cancer in 2004 “was a big bonk on the head,” she said.
“I have since found my own peace and my own love,” she said. “I’m also able to look around and see hope, and desire, and pain, and dreams.”
She said her love of music and performing has kept her going, as has her desire to be a better musician.
“If you saw me a few years ago, and you come see me this summer,” she said, “you will notice that I play the guitar a lot more, and better, than I did years ago.”
Tickets for concerts at the Durham Fair are included with fair admission, available at www.durhamfair.org.