The amazing talents of Melissa Etheridge were showcased in her return visit to the Samala Showroom at the Chumash Casino Resort on Thursday (Dec. 11) as one of the stateswomen in Rock music delivered a concert to remember.

It was the Chumash Casino Resort’s 11th annual Toys for Tots benefit concert, with the night kicking off in giving fashion by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians awarding a substantial contribution of $25,000 to the Central Coast Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign, which serves children in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. After the presenting of the colors by the Marine Corp and a fine rendition of our National Anthem, it was time to settle in for what promised to be a fantastic show.

Opening act and fellow indie artist Xander Cardinale played a short, five-song set that showed off his humor and musical prowess. Xander brought his “band,” Apple, which was a Mac loaded with tracks. Xander set the tone for a fine evening of music.

Melissa Etheridge last made an appearance at the Chumash in 2009, and a lot has changed in her life between then and now. Within the last year in fact, she left her record label (Island), formed her own label, changed her management and got married (to “Nurse jackie” co-creator Linda Wallem). She has undergone a rebirth musically and it showed in nothing but a positive way.

The multi-instrumentalist Melissa opened the show on percussion with a great track from her new album “This Is Me” called “I Won’t Be Alone Tonight” and sprinkled tracks from this great new offering throughout the set, along with all of her greatest hits. She broke out her 12-string Jerry Jones electric, her 12-string Ovation acoustic and her six-string Les Paul at different points in the show, showcasing her guitar prowess and she also blew a mean harmonica on a few songs as well.

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On this next to last gig on her 2014 tour, her fantastic backing band was locked in and solid. The band was full of stellar talent and included the impressive Fugees bassist and producer Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis and lead guitar player Brandyn Porter.

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The new songs fit right in with all of her best from the past and these songs deserve your attention. Check out Melissa online: and grab a copy of the new album.  This next phase of Melissa’s career is on an upward arc, and the positivity and love she has for the music shows in everything she does. After all the years of greatness, it continues and will shine bright well in the future. Melissa is an artist that justifiably deserves consideration for induction into any Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. For more photos from the show click here.

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I Won’t Be Alone Tonight
I Want to Come Over
Take My Number
A Little Hard Hearted
Come to My Window
Do It Again
A Little Bit of Me
If I Wanted To
Ain’t That Bad
I’m the Only One
Like a Preacher
All the Way Home
Bring Me Some Water
Like the Way I Do
Encore: Monster

Tickets for all events are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Chumash. You can also visit the website at or call StarTicketsPlus at 1-800-585-3737.

Special Thanks to Mike Traphagen

Chumash Casino