Like Johnny Cash before her, Melissa Etheridge has a passion for helping out local jailbirds. She made a pitstop Wednesday to perform a half-hour set at the Ohio Reformatory for Women to encourage inmates to make more productive choices.
The singer was inspired to drop by the prison after seeing a video of inmates singing her track "Little Bit of Me." Tapestry, a group of recovering addicts within the reformatory, sang the song as part of its collaboration with Columbus community choir The Harmony Project. The video of their performance was shown to Etheridge when she spoke at the Women's Fund of Central Ohio, sparking her interest in visiting the prison herself.
A quick stop before a concert in Newark, the show was stripped-down, with Etheridge by herself and an acoustic guitar. In total, she played five songs for around 2,300 women, inviting the 90-piece Tapestry to sing "Little Bit of Me" with her on-stage.
Before leaving, the musician left a mark on the facility, both literally and figuratively. She left signed yellow and orange handprints on the wall, per the prison's tradition of allowing inspiring visitors leave a bit of themselves with the inmates.
For video of the performance, check out the Columbus Dispatch's coverage
of the event.
And check out our 2013 feature on the rock bands that have formed inside Trumbull Correctional Institution.