There are some certainties in life. One is that if Joss Stone and Melissa Etheridge are sharing the stage, which they did for the first time 12 years after their interpretation of the famous Janis Joplin song?, they will inevitably sing it again.

Stakes were high. To be sure, that is what most people in the room had their minds.

For the rest, especially after that show we are forced to recognize that the two powerfully-voiced songstresses have very little in common.

Joss Stone can sing. After reaching widespread critical acclaim at the mere age of 16, Stone is no longer a genius child but a full blown chanteuse, having released memorable platinum albums to prove that she was the hefty heiress of the blue-eyed soul crown.

On a second visit at the Jazz Fest in two consecutive years, Joss Stone showed up on stage bare feet, her candid and chatty attitude contrasting with her mermaid dress. If she

delivered a great show, backed up by a full and solid band (back-vocalist, brass second included), there was a trend of overdoing it from her own. Pushing her vocal prowess forward, her execution wasn’t dreadful, but seemed calculated, lacking a certain depth that goes with the genre. We couldn’t get the raw emotions from her own songs and her renditions (Son of A Preacher Man, Look Of Love), despite the grand manner and the genuine intention. It was too much delivery, and too little was attained.

We did however get the Joss Stone we were hoping for at the encore following fellow frontwoman performance Melissa Etheridge. Contrastingly, no eyes (nor ears) could be taken off Melissa the great. It’s a whirlwind, or should I say a hurricane of emotion and familiarity. The singer-guitarist took from her latest album, Memphis Rock and Soul, which came out last year, giving us a history lesson about record label Stax. She did not refrain from belting out her biggest hits: “I Want to Come Over”, “Like the way I do”,  “Come to my Window”, “Bring Me Some Water”  and “I’m the Only One”. No one can sit back down, or contain themselves. “Vous êtes au boutte”, she tells us. We have so much to learn about, from here. Melissa loves her local crowd, maybe as much at it loves her too.

 

Then, time for the cherry on the top of the cake. This reunion was never to take place, but it did just there, as both sang again this now famous tribute to Janis Joplin as they first did at the 2005 Grammy Awards. We lack words to describe this moment — epic? Breathtaking? Monumental? Incomparable. Suddenly, all is well. Clocks are reset. We can go on, fulfilled.

Photos Courtesy of Montreal Jazz Fest

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About The Author

Christelle Saint-Julien
Collaborator - RREVERB

Christelle is a Montreal-based writer, musician and translator based and born in Montreal. An hyperactive brainard, her first love really is music. She makes a living putting words together in different contexts.