Melissa Etheridge once said, "I tried to stay out of the boxes." The boxes she was talking about are the virtual ones that confine performers early in their careers and from which escape is difficult, even if you weren't a perfect fit for your box in the first place. Etheridge has managed to stay out of more than music boxes and for a long time avoided the lifestyle box; a category mainly interesting if one dodges the question. She's always considered her voice her talent although fans beg to differ, putting her songwriting right up there and calling her a heartland rocker, no doubt as a nod to her Kansas upbringing and the universality of her themes. Now more confident than ever and comfortable in her skin, Ethridge's 2004 release, Lucky, brings a whole new joie de vivre to love-lost, love-found. A greatest hits collection was released in '05, and 2007 saw the release of The Awakening.