lifeblood: listlogs: 1998v01n065-news

ig-news-digest         wednesday, may 6 1998         volume 01 : number 065

                               today's subjects:
  [ig-news] sots review                     [sherlyn koo <>]
  [ig-news] review (late): voter's for choice benefit  [doolittle <tonyfraps]


date: tue, 5 may 1998 13:57:50 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] sots review

hey folks,

i found this review on george graham's album review
site (

cheers -

- --
the graham weekly album review #1067

indigo girls: shaming of the sun -- by george graham
(epic 67891 as broadcast on wvia-fm 5/7/97)

back in the 1980s, thanks to suzanne vega and tracy chapman there was a
bit of a folk revival on the pop music scene. while there are hundreds
of fine singer-songwriters at least as talented whose records have never
made the charts, the folk revival did open the doors on the major label
music scene for several outstanding artists including mark cohn, david
wilcox, who is back on an independent label, and one of the best-known,
indigo girls.

the atlanta-based duo of amy ray and emily saliers, who prefer not to
use the definite article as part of the group name, have been together
since the latter 1980s, and over the years have developed quite a
following both in the us and also in england, europe, and australia,
where there have been some different versions and some exclusive live
recordings released. in the us there have been seven previous
major-label releases, including two live albums. now they are out with
a cd entitled shaming of the sun, their first studio recording since
1994's swamp ophelia.

ray and saliers are distinctive in how well their vocal harmonies mesh,
and how their songwriting styles contrast. they both write about
equally as much, but ms. ray's material tends to be more hard-edged,
while ms. saliers is the more mellow folkie. their style has evolved
from quite positive and almost spiritual on their early albums to a
more complex, sometimes bittersweet, occasionally ambiguously poetic
approach in the tradition of the great singer-songwriters of the 1960s,
from whom ray and saliers draw inspiration. the new album continues in
that direction with songs that take up, or hint at social issues, to go
along with their activism for environmental, native american and
anti-bigotry causes.

>from a stylistic standpoint, this is their rockiest recording yet. peter
collins, a producer known for his work with heavy metal bands, worked
with indigo girls on their last two studio releases, and maintained
their folk roots in those recordings. ray and saliers thank collins, on
shaming of the sun, but this time around co-produced themselves with
engineer david leonard. and they are a little more wide-ranging in their
sound. some would call it adventurous, while others might call part of
it more commercial. they work with some of the same musicians who
appeared on swamp ophelia,. including bassist sara lee and drummer jerry
marotta, who has been in important part of the recent suzanne vega cds,
and singer and multi-instrumentalist lisa germano. there are also some
guests including steve earle, and members of various groups who are
friends of indigo girls, including the bands smoke, big fish ensemble
and ulali. ray and saliers are playing electric guitars as almost as
much on the album as their trademark acoustic guitars. ms. saliers is
also takes up the banjo on several tracks.

the album's more electric sound is a mixed blessing. the more powerful
songs can make a stronger impact, but sometimes they get a little too
electric for my taste. that is compensated for, however, by the
uniformly high quality of the material -- both the ray's edgy songs and
saliers' more folky compositions are literate and melodic.

the album begins with one of ray's songs, shame on you, which
stylistically is reminiscent of bruce springsteen. the lyrics revolve
around a latino community, and touch on the subject of immigration. <<>>

as is the indigo girls custom, they follow that upbeat track with one of
the more laid-back folky songs by emily saliers, get out the map. ms.
saliers gets out her banjo in this song of travelling and
separation. <<>>

ms. saliers also came up with one of the more upbeat songs, it's
alright, which takes a broadside at bigotry in the course of its
narrative. <<>>

a considerable stylistic departure for this folk duo comes on amy ray's
song shed you skin, which starts out with a hip-hop beat... <<>> before
settling into a rock groove with some bittersweet love lyrics. they add
some native-american influenced backing vocals, which on its surface is
a worthwhile idea, but in this case the tend more to distract from rather
than enhance the song. <<>>

one of the most mellow songs is emily saliers' composition called leeds,
named after the english city. amy ray is absent from the track, with the
curious backing vocals provided by the members of ulali. ms. saliers
plays the piano, in this nice love song. <<>>

indigo girls' concern for native americans is reflected in the track
scooter boys, which deals with south american natives in a very rocky
context. <<>>

for me, and i suspect for many other long-time fans of ray and saliers,
probably the highlight of the album is everything in its own time by
saliers, which reminds me of a cross between indigo girls and sting, in
terms of the exemplary quality of the writing and the elegant but
melancholy style. <<>>

the album ends with another of its best tracks, hey kind friend, a mellow
song by the usually more upbeat amy ray. the horn section from the group
smoke, sounding like a salvation army band, adds an interesting touch
along with pennywhistle and dulcimer. except for mispronouncing name of
the state of washington's second largest city for the sake of a rhyme,
it's a fine piece of writing obviously dedicated to someone special. <<>>

shaming of the sun, the new album by indigo girls, marks a considerable
electrification of this folk-based duo's sound. both any ray and emily
saliers play electric guitars, and together with the rest of the band on
the cd, can get quite rocky. sometimes it works, but at others it can get
in the way of the songs, which are some of the best ray and saliers have
yet penned. they continue to mature as writers, creating lyrics that are
sometimes powerful, and at the same time vague enough to be open for
interpretation or application by the listener to his or her own
situation. when they take up social issues, they do it without being
preachy or self-righteous, and often that is just one facet woven into a
song. once again, their vocals, both individually and in harmony, are
outstanding, though sometimes the album's production and the occasionally
noisy arrangements get in the way. at other times, the addition of the
dulcimer, hurdy-gurdy and other folk string instruments is handled quite

sonically, the album is also a mixed success. the recording mix is rather
good, in you can hear everything in the arrangements, but especially on
the rock tracks, the acoustic instruments and vocals can sound a bit thin.
and spacially, the recording tends to be rather two-dimensional and
lacking in warmth or the kind of airy quality that could help the electric
and acoustic instruments to blend better.

shaming of the sun is not the best indigo girls album, in my view.
outstanding material is sometimes undermined by inappropriate
arrangements. but there are also many high points on this new cd. i don't
think too many of their fans will be disappointed, and the album's rocky
sound night open doors for new people to discover ray and saliers. and
even when their production and arrangements get a little out of hand,
indigo girls are still orders of magnitude above most music of the
commercial pop scene.

this is george graham.

(c) copyright 1997 george d. graham

- ----------------------------------------------------------------------

<<>> indicates audio excerpt played in produced radio review
comments to george:

sherlyn koo -                  [sydney, australia]
"this is the song that we are always just this side of singing..."
                                        - peter mulvey

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date: tue, 5 may 1998 21:36:08 -0700
from: doolittle <>
subject: [ig-news] review (late): voter's for choice benefit

[sherlyn's note: this message was originally sent to the indigo
girls mailing list at]


        i've been offline for a couple of weeks, so i apologize if this info
has already been shared:

        nearly two weeks ago on thurs. april 23rd, i drove to dallas to see
the ig's, shawn colvin, graham nash and nanci griffith.  nanci opened the
show with a three piece female band.  she called it the "wall of women".
they were very good and ig's came out and did 3 songs with them.  the first
two of those songs neither a or e had an instrument and they seemed a bit
awkward.  amy started doing that funny swaying dance-like thing she does
when she doesn't have a guitar, like before crazy game on the live at the
uptown lounge video (if ya seen it ;)
        then shawn colvin, 7-1/2 mos. pregnant wearing a white maternity
dress and lace up black army boots.  she looked extremely bizarre and put on
an average show imo.  but she told some funny stories.
        oh, i forgot to mention that gloria steinem was the emcee for the
voter's for choice benefit in dallas.
        then graham nash came on and did some wonnerful old and new tunes.
the old one's including teach your children, simple man, and the road to
bangledesh.  he was really very good and also told some funny stories.
crosby, stills & nash just recorded a new album btw.
        then the girls came on and the crowd went ballistic!! :)  i can't
remember the first song :o  but i'm pretty sure the 2nd was soy, then gotm.
i know they did least complicated, galileo, and chickenman with dreaded dave
ellison doing his signature harp solo :)  dave rocks on c-man! ;)
        and amy did the new karla faye tucker song which was excellent!  a
great song in the folk tradition with amy singing in her gusty, deep,
beautiful tones.  i expect to see this song on their next album :)
        then the crowd sung along to an old csn&y tune which, um, i can't
remember the name of...  and then everyone came out for ctf.  nanci griffin
soloed on the doctor of philosophy verse and it was humorous and enjoyable
in her nasally texas accent! ;)
        the majestic theatre is a beautiful old, small theatre in the deep
ellum area of dallas and i was in the top balcony but the acoustics were
great as well as the view.
        overall, it was a great show.  all the musicians performed for free.
next up -- this friday night at the backyard in austin, tx, the zapatista
benefit with shawn colvin, steve earle, ricki lee jones and a&e!

peace & harmony!

i       tony doolittle - houston, texas, usa            g
n                                                       i
d       not content to bow and bend to the whims        r
i       of culture that swoop like vultures eating      l
g       us away to our extinction -  emily saliers      s

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submissions are welcome - please send these to


end of ig-news-digest v1 #65

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