Melissa Etheridge Unearths Songs From Her Past on ‘One Way Out’

Melissa Ehteridge (Photo: Elizabeth Miranda)

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Melissa Etheridge wrote a batch of songs in the 1980s and early ’90s, which never saw the light until she launched the livestream series Etheridge TV. Searching for tracks for her Friday Night Time Machine show, Etheridge unearthed songs written during the start of her career, some before she came out. One Way Out is a collection of songs from another era of Etheridge’s life, one she was ready to revisit, even joining her old band at Henson Studios in Los Angeles in 2013 to revive the tracks for a box set, which was ultimately shelved when she parted ways with her label. 

Featuring six previously unreleased tracks, including “You Have No Idea” and “Life Goes On,” recorded live in 2002 at the Roxy in Los Angeles, One Way Out showcases musical snapshots of another time, and the beginning of Etheridge’s braver voice with many of the singles focused on female empowerment, something the artist was not ready to outwardly address at the time.

“I decided ‘no, I can’t put this on the album,’ for a lot of different reasons,” says Etheridge. “At the time I was like ‘wow, I don’t know how to be this powerful right now.’ A couple of the songs are feminist in nature and very assertive, and I felt a little shy to put those out at the time. I was a different human being with a different brain back then.”

Re-recording the tracks in 2013 with her original band from 1988, Etheridge says she left the songs off in a better place than when she first wrote them, reworking each to sound the way it was meant to from the beginning. “That’s why I call it a time capsule of a time capsule,” says Etheridge. “It has a real hard rock edge to it. What I really enjoyed about them was that they’re simple, straightforward rock and roll songs that I was writing back then before I got influenced by modern musical trends and stuff. They were just straightforward.”

Though some reach more than three decades back, all still resonate with Etheridge, even “For the Last Time,” covering the end of one relationship. “I can sing it now because I went through that relationship,” shares Etheridge. “It’s old, it’s gone. It’s done. Nothing in it hurts me anymore, so I can just sing it as a powerful song.”

Etheridge adds, “It’s like when I sing ‘I’m the Only One’ or ‘Bring Me Some Water,’ I don’t go through that anymore, but those are great songs to sing. I can’t wait to start playing them live.”

Melissa Ehteridge (Photo: Elizabeth Miranda)

Writing now falls into two separate ends for Etheridge. “One is my own personal experience,” she says. “I’ve had great sorrow and great triumphs, so I write from those, but I’m also looking at projects where I can go outside of myself and write about other human beings and their experiences.”

Back when she wrote the songs of One Way Out, Etheridge admits it was easier to write about the human experience in relationships. “I got really good at that, because I was learning a whole lot about myself,” shares Etheridge. “Now I’m in an incredibly nurturing happy relationship, so I’m not writing about that anymore. I’m looking out at the world, so my objective has changed. The part of my heart and soul that I write from now is older, wiser… but I’m still rock and roll.”

One Way Out Track List

One Way Out
As Cool As You Try
I’m No Angel Myself
For The Last Time
Save Myself
That Would Be Me
Wild Wild Wild
You Have No Idea (Live)*
Life Goes On (Live)*

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