lifeblood: listlogs: 2009-005


date:    thu, 29 jan 2009 10:39:56 +1100
from:    sherlyn koo <>
subject: silicon valley mercury news article

hey folks,

here's an amy article/interview from the silicon valley mercury news.  you
can read it online at


---begin forwarded message---
amy ray of indigo girls goes solo
by jon matsumoto

for the mercury news
posted: 01/28/2009 11:14:17 am pst

amy ray just can't suppress a playful laugh when it's mentioned that some
of the electric guitar textures on her recent solo album sound a lot like
the clash.

"totally," she admits with a chuckle. "i have to be careful about that."

you can't blame ray for replicating the guitar sound of the late, great
english punk band. she's a fan.

but the 44-year-old singer-guitarist-songwriter has spent much of her
26-plus-year music career downplaying her inner punk rock girl as a member
of the popular acoustic duo the indigo girls. it's been as a solo artist
that the georgia native has felt more comfortable unleashing her more
raucous instincts.

with her fourth and latest solo disc, "didn't it feel kinder," ray straps
on her electric guitar on numbers like "bus bus" and "slc radio." while
hardly mosh pit anthems, they nonetheless reflect a rock 'n' roll side of
her artistry that hasn't found full expression in the folksier indigo

"i was writing songs that didn't really fit into the indigo girls," says
ray, explaining the genesis of her solo career. "i started an indie record
label when the indigo girls signed to epic records (in the late '80s). i
put out records by friends of mine in the underground music community. i
got more involved in writing and jamming with these artists. more than
anything, (the solo albums) are a result of having these different

ray seems to have found several compatible (and inspiring) musical partners
in drummer melissa york and guitarist kaia wilson. former members of the
lesbian rock band the butchies, york and wilson were on board for ray's
2001 solo debut album, "stag." the pair returned for the recording of
"didn't it feel kinder" and ray's current tour, which comes to the rio
theatre in santa cruz this friday night. the touring lineup also includes
keyboard player and bassist greg griffith, who produced "didn't it feel

ray and her indigo girls partner emily saliers have long been committed
social activists. they helped establish an organization called honor the
earth, which aims to promote environmental technology and green jobs in
native american and minority communities.

so it's not surprising that there is a topical edge to some of ray's solo
material. "slc radio" was inspired by a community radio station in salt
lake city that gives voice to a progressive community in the largely
conservative, mormon state. the church of jesus christ of latter-day
saints' support of the recent proposition 8 campaign banning same-sex
marriage in california seemed to add even more weight to the song's plea
for tolerance and dialogue.

"it was interesting how that (proposition 8) issue came up while we were
doing the song on tour," notes ray, who is gay. "i was just like, 'wow.'
the mormon church is representative of that fundamentalist idea. there are
so many positive and negative things in religion. there are a lot of good
folks in every institution, but that church wields their power in such a
negative way."

in two months, ray will again turn her attention to the indigo girls. the
duo will release its first album in three years, "poseidon and the bitter
bug," on march 24. spring and summer will also find ray and saliers back on
the road.

with "poseidon and the bitter bug," the indigo girls have come full circle.

their first album was released independently in 1987, but the next 10
albums were released on major labels, with the first nine being epic
records releases. "poseidon and the bitter bug" will mark the debut of the
indigo girls' own record label called ig recordings with distribution
provided by vanguard records.

"it feels good not to be on a big label and to be independent," ray says.
"there are a lot of differences just as far as having discretion over how
your money is spent, doing things at your own pace and knowing where the
buck stops, which is nice. i've been ready for that for a long time."

"poseidon and the bitter bug" was recorded within a three-week span in
atlanta. it was produced by studio veteran mitchell froom, who also
produced the duo's last album, 2006's "despite our differences." the album
also contains a bonus disc featuring acoustic versions of all the album's
tracks as well as one additional song.

ray may be relishing the opportunity to be an independent recording artist
again. but on a personal level, it's been difficult witnessing the economic
decline of the major-label record industry due to issues such as the legal
and illegal downloading of songs from the internet.

"it's been hard to watch the industry fall apart over the past 10 years
because our friends in the industry were losing their jobs," ray says.
"it's always the good folks who lose their jobs, the ones that you feel
really understand music."

amy ray

when: 8 p.m. friday
where: rio theatre, 1205 soquel ave., santa cruz
tickets: $15 in advance, $19 at the door; (831) 423-8209
also: 9 p.m. saturday, slim"s, 333 11th st., san francisco. $16-18,

for information about the news-only version of this list send
this command to info ig-news
indigo girls faq and indigo girls mailing list faq:


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