Melissa Etheridge is an of-the-people kind of singer. There may be nothing that embodies heartland values more than her fearlessness about making enemies and singing out against injustice. Listen to her moving spiritual fragment "God Is in the People" to get a sense of how she views things. She's always had a civil rights/social-justice/environmentalist streak.
Her latest album, "Memphis Rock and Soul," is a tribute to that musical city, home of Elvis and Al Green. It's a tribute to Stax Records, specifically, heavy on the soul. She does an admirable cover of "Respect Yourself (People Stand Up)," the Staple Singers' anthem to pride and self-reliance. She does some well known tunes and some that are a bit more obscure. She's been at it for 30 years, writing her own memorable songs ("Come To My Window"), and this project gave her a chance to pay tribute to the label and to Otis Redding in particular.
Melissa Etheridge comes to College Street Music Hall, 238 College St., New Haven, Tuesday, May 2, at 8 p.m. $52.50 and $75.50. collegestreetmusichall.com.