Melissa Ferrick's been quietly fighting her way out of pigeonholes for the past few years. First, she got branded with the "granola/Lilith Fair crowd" label, not because she actually played at Lilith Fair in 1999, but because she's a female singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar. Then she got stuck with the "lesbian artist" title because she openly sings songs about love affairs with women. And although Ferrick's song "Drive," from her 2000 album Freedom, may be one of the most seductive love songs ever written for a woman, by a woman (along with Sophie B. Hawkins' "Sweet, Sexy Woman"), Ferrick would rather people view her as just an "alternative musician," without any of the qualifiers that might make people think she's another Melissa Etheridge or Ani DiFranco (Ferrick's thoughtful folk-rock doesn't sound like either). But rather than go on a public protest to slay stereotypes, Ferrick's battle plan is just to keep doing what she's been doing for the past 13 years, which is to tour relentlessly and make carefully crafted confessional albums on her own label, Right On Records. Ferrick's latest, In the Eyes of Strangers, hits stores Tuesday, October 24. —
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