Melissa Etheridge plans to take her fans on a "journey" with her Revival tour, which begins June 15 in Clearwater, Fla.

Melissa Etheridge plans to take her fans on a "journey" with her Revival tour, which begins June 15 in Clearwater, Fla.

Etheridge tells Billboard.com she'll use songs from her latest album, "The Awakening," to frame the conceptual shows on the 12-week trek and "musically take you through my life story. I'm gonna tell you that story and show you how I have come to where I am now."

Etheridge explained that "'The Awakening' is this concept, this journey of my life from coming out to California to where I'm at as a human being now and spirituality and all that stuff. I was like, 'OK, how do I present this in an entertaining way?,' and this is what I came up with. It's like my life story."

Etheridge says she considered including some covers from artists who influenced her but ultimately decided against it. "I would love to if I had four or five hours," she says. "I have so many songs now, myself. The show is long as it is. I'm asking my fans to sit there for three hours."

The Kansas-born singer/songwriter says that family kept her from touring closer to the album's release last September, when it debuted at No. 13 on The Billboard 200. "I'm a mother, and that's absolutely first," Etheridge says. "My kids (daughter Bailey Jean and son Beckett) are in school, and I need to be there. My priorities come with my family."

Etheridge didn't spend the entire interim helping with homework, however. She recorded a holiday album, "A New Thought For Christmas," that will come out this fall and is, she notes, "not your regular Christmas album."

"Part of this spiritual, 'Awakening' journey I'm on has been to realize how sort of brainwashed we've been about religion and Santa Claus and Christmas," Etheridge says. "I wanted to sort of take that season back and give the millions of people who sort of walked away from religion because it's just not fulfilling or satisfying ... it's a Christmas album for them."

Etheridge says the album is half originals and half holiday standards, although on some of them, she "took pieces of traditional Christmas carols and gave them new spiritual meaning" with revised lyrics. She adds that it's also "one of the most rockin' albums I've made. It cracks me up."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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