lifeblood: listlogs: 2008v10n109-news

ig-news-digest       wednesday, february 6 2008       volume 10 : number 109

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] bloomington pantagraph article  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopoli]


date: wed, 06 feb 2008 11:21:53 +1100
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] bloomington pantagraph article

hey folks,

here's an article/amy interview from the bloomington pantagraph, with
bonus article about michelle malone.  online at


- ---begin forwarded message---
girls' night out
indigo girls bring mix of folk, rock and indie spirit to bcpa friday
the indigo girls are, left, amy ray, and, right, emily saliers. they
will perform on valentine's day at the bloomington center for the
performing arts, along with old friend and fellow folk-rock traveler
michelle malone.

friday, february 1, 2008 2:44 pm cst

by dan craft

updated amy ray and emily saliers -- the indigo girls -- first crossed
paths in grade school, when amy was around 10, and the slightly-elder
emily was around 11.

the time was the middle '70s.

the place was laurel ridge elementary school in dekalb county, ga.

their pre-pubescent sensibilities were in synch ... as one ...
perfectly joined.

thirty-odd years later, the time and the setting may have unalterably
changed. but those pre-pubescent sensibilities have remained in unison.

so what if they're deep into post-pubescence -- nay, middle age -- now?

the subject of keeping in synch from childhood through maturity arises
during a conversation with ray, who'll be here february 14 for her
rescheduled indigo girls valentine's day gig at the bloomington center
for the performing arts. the originally scheduled february 1
appearance was rescheduled due to illness.

she's asked, "would you recommend forging a creative relationship with
your future musical partner at a very early age -- oh, say, grade

ray responds in the affirmative.

at least where the indigo girls are concerned.

"i don't know whether i'd recommend it or not for everyone," she
continues. "but for us it's meant we have this relationship to the
community and that we understand each other, which is important in
what we do."

and what they do, to put a somewhat glib and simplified label on it,
is make memorably vibrant folk-rock-americana music, infused with a
distinct indie spirit.

ray continues: "we also have this respect for each other's families
and histories, which has bonded us together and given us a deeper
understanding into the nuances of what each of us might be. it's like
singing with a sibling."

going glib again, that could be described via a paraphrasing of the
old "donny & marie show" mantra, "i'm a little bit country; he's a
little bit rock 'n' roll."

in the case of the "amy & emily show," the distinctions would have to
read, "i'm a little bit rock 'n' roots" (ray); she's a little bit pop
'n' roll (saliers)."

as their fans well know, ray and saliers are separate and distinct
entities as songwriters, if not performers.

an indigo girls album -- be it one of the signature early-'90s works
like 1992's "rites of passage" or something more recent like 2006's
critically hailed "despite our differences" -- features an even menu
of songs penned by ray and songs penned by saliers.

and ne'er the twain shall meet?

"we each like writing alone," says ray. "we enjoy that artistic space
from one another -- it's our way of expressing ourselves."

and each indigo girl expresses herself slightly differently when the
notes begin to fall into place.

"emily is a little more poppy than i am," ray says, dissecting their
styles. "she's more of a 'hook' person and writes more complex
melodies, lyrics and chord structures. i write from more of a rock and
america perspective, and what i write is a little more simple."

but neither musician can be so easily pigeonholed when it comes to
specifics; the above description, says ray, has more to do with
generalities and bigger pictures.

"that can all shift," she says. "we try to break out of those roles."

certainly, there are misconceptions sometimes among that segment of
the public who may be vaguely aware of the indigo girls without
knowing what they're really about.

for starters, no, emily and amy aren't a "couple" outside their
proscribed musical sphere, and never have been.

that misconception has arisen through the years from the fact each
artist is gay and proud of it. each has also been long involved in
various avenues of gay activism (among many other political, human
rights and environmental causes).

even without that level of involvement, ray agrees that long-term
creative relationships such as the indigos have enjoyed "can result in
a lot of baggage with the history."

that baggage, she agrees, can weigh you down and bring an early end to things.

"or you can work with it and take advantage of the good things and use
that energy to challenge yourselves, play off of it," ray says, which
has been the manner in which she and saliers have thrived over the

those decades are marked thusly: as children of the '70s, "we really
saw the flowering of the whole indie music scene -- we were there for
college radio, which was so important for the community, when it
really started happening. we got to have a taste of all that
left-of-dial stuff."

that taste is what gave ray and saliers the appetite for more, as they
morphed into high school bands like the b-band and the somewhat
prosaically named saliers & ray.

by the mid-'80s, the die was cast: they reunited after a
college-enforced separation and became, for all time, the indigo girls.

the name was derived from making a pass through a dictionary looking
for an interesting word with which to christen themselves.

(that fascination with dictionaries has extended into the new
millennium, witness the duo's appearance in the 2006 documentary film
about the world of crossword-puzzle competition, "wordplay," in which
they puzzle over the fact that they themselves have wound up as a new
york times crosswords entry.)

if the '70s instilled the indigo girls with their key indie music
spirit, says ray, "we really grew up in the '90s, as far as i'm
concerned. i think our songwriting sort of peaked at different times
- -- mine grew a littler slower than emily's, and i sort of hit my
stride at the end of the '90s."

but it was the '90s during which they forged their lasting musical identity.

though they've long been associated with various modes of liberal
activism, ray says that agenda doesn't dominate an average concert
unless said concert is being staged as part of a cause, a la last
summer's "true colors tour," which benefited the human rights campaign
and other gay-friendly causes.

"we'll have our 'political groups' table out on the lobby," says ray
of this weekend's bcpa show. "but onstage it won't be like the
centerpiece of the show or anything -- unless something comes from the
audience, then we might do something."

offstage, ray is fully stoked about the election year at hand.

"i'm really excited about the election," she says. "and i'm very
hopeful -- it's an historical time at hand, with both a woman and an
african-american candidate to choose from. that's just cra-azy. and

michelle malone set to open show

by dan craft |

calling singer-songwriter michelle malone "the third indigo girl"
might be stretching things a mite.

but one thing's for certain: she and the girls go way back.

way, way back.

that long history will be fully apparent when malone opens for the
indigos at their valentine's day concert in the bloomington center for
the performing arts.

using the word "opening act," by the way, might be stretching things
as much as calling malone "the third indigo girl."

in her go! interview, amy ray reminds us that indigos have been
crossing paths with malone, musically and otherwise, for more than two
decades now -- clear back to the duo's mid-'80s club days on the
athens, ga., music scene.

"we have really deep roots," ray says.

some things never change: the same interfacing will be taking place on
the bcpa stage, where malone will open with what ray describes as one
of her "bluesier" sets, then stick around and join in with amy and
emily saliers after they take the stage.

there's even talk of the headliners stepping out front early during
malone's set, but ray says things usually aren't decided until dinner
before the show.

that's when concentration is best and the night's musical decisions are made.

like ray and saliers, malone is a native georgian, born and raised in
atlanta, and eventually winding up at agnes scott college, where she
first crossed paths with the future indigo girls.

they encouraged malone to make good on her blues-driven musical gifts,
which inspired her to leave school and pursue her dream. by 1988, she
was recording her first album, the aptly titled "new experience."

in the 20 years since, she's recorded nine more solo projects,
including 2006's acclaimed "sugarfoot," which scored a place on many
critics' year-end 10-best lists. she also recorded several albums with
two of her bands, drag the river and band de soleil.

at malone is defined as: "raucous and jubilant
... somewhere between lucinda williams and shelby lynne ...
alternating between soulful ballads and rowdy, riffy blasters."

at a glance

what: the indigo girls and michelle malone
when: rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. thursday, february 14
where: bloomington center for the performing arts, 110 e. mulberry
st., bloomington
tickets: $34.50 to $40.50

box office number: (866) 686-9541

rescheduling info: tickets already issued for the original february 1
performance will be valid on the rescheduled valentine?s day date. if
patrons are unable to attend on the new date, they may apply the value
of their tickets to another event in the 2007-2008 bcpa season, donate
the cost of the tickets to support the bcpa as an arts partner, or
return the tickets for a full refund.

copyright ) 2008, pantagraph publishing co. all rights reserved.

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end of ig-news-digest v10 #109

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