lifeblood: listlogs: 2009v11n023-news

ig-news-digest          monday, april 6 2009          volume 11 : number 023

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] allentown morning call article  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopoli]


date: mon, 06 apr 2009 10:03:12 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] allentown morning call article

hi folks,

here's an article from the allentown morning call, in allentown pa.  you
can read it online at,0,4427887.story.


- ---begin forwarded message---
diametric duo indigo girls create a new disc in two versions
by alan sculley
special to the morning call
april 5, 2009

the singer-songwriters who make up the indigo girls are known as much for
their contrasts as for any common traits.

amy ray and emily salier write separately. ray is more likely to have
written the edgier, harder rocking tunes and the more stark acoustic songs
in the duo's catalog. saliers' material usually has a more delicate,
poppier feel.

outside of the group, ray and saliers are known to lead separate lives. ray
is the more outgoing, and she and saliers have fairly different interests.

ray, unlike saliers, has also launched a solo career, releasing three cds
of songs that rock harder than much of what she writes for the indigo
girls. ray's latest solo effort, "didn't it feel kinder," came out last

with the new indigo girls cd, "poseidon and the bitter bug," ray and
saliers have show another contrast in their working methods. and at least
this time, it played a part in how the duo arrived at the album's
acoustic-based direction.

ray says that saliers doesn't really think about the musical form she wants
her songs to take before writing, and instead just lets her songwriting
take whatever sound and style it wants.

ray, though, was more conscious of the kind of songs she wanted to write
for "poseidon and the bitter bug."

"i actually did think about it and wanted to write from a more acoustic
perspective and not have two or three songs on the record that we couldn't
do as our strongest points," ray says.

"i wanted to write to what i think our strengths are right now, which is
harmony, and i just felt that was what i was in the mood for. i think we
just happened upon a time when we were both in the same place of writing
toward an acoustic record.

that the indigo girls would create an acoustic-centric cd is no surprise.
the duo's 1987 debut, "strange fire," and the 1988 self-titled cd that
followed as the first major label release, with its harmonies and socially
conscious lyrics, pigeonholed the duo as a folk act.

ray and saliers gradually expanded their sound. in particular, the duo's
last three albums of the '90s -- "swamp ophelia" (1995), "shaming of the
sun" (1997) and "come on now social" (1999) increasingly found ray and
saliers venturing into electric instrumentation and embracing a wider range
of styles that included pure pop, brisk rock and even a touch of soul.

but the new decade found them stepping back to their roots -- on "become
you" (2002), "all that we let in" (2004) and "despite our differences"

"poseidon and the bitter bug" continues with many of the indigo girls'
stylistic hallmarks.

as usual, the songs are centered on graceful vocal melodies and the vocal
harmonies of saliers (usually the softer, higher voice) and ray (usually
the huskier, lower voice).

for the most part, ray's songs are a bit punchier and rhythmic here
("driver education" and "true romantic") and saliers' songs ("i'll change"
and "digging for your dream") are more gentle, although saliers does
contribute a pair of frisky tunes in "what are you like?" and "love of our

while much about "poseidon and the bitter bug" is familiar (and as usual
for the indigo girls, enjoyable), ray says she and saliers experimented,
particularly on vocals. on "love of our lives," they sometimes sing
together, something they have rarely done. there are also some new twists
to their harmonies. ray notes she actually sings the higher harmony on
"digging for your dream."

another thing that's different is the girls recorded both a full-band
version of "poseidon and the bitter bug" and an acoustic duo version that
includes all of the full-band songs plus an additional tune, "salty south."
the idea to do the purely acoustic disc came from mitchell froom, who
produced the new cd.

the acoustic disc was recorded after the full-band version, and ray said
she liked how the songs came out in the more spare setting.

"i think recording stuff with the band first actually gave us a different
perspective on the songs," she says. "so when we went back to do the
acoustic versions, it was really easier to see what we needed to emphasize
and how to make things stronger in some ways in the acoustic versions."

with "poseidon and the bitter bug" now in stores, ray and saliers are on
the road, beginning with a string of acoustic shows in which they are
joined by keyboardist julie wolf. later in the year, they will tour with a
full band.

in either setting, ray said she and saliers hope to give fans an overview
of their extensive catalog of songs.

"we do try to cover every record a little bit," she says. "and then when we
just come out with a new record, we're pretty excited to play the new
songs. so sometimes it's weighed heavily toward that, but not too much. i
mean, there might be six songs from the new record and the rest of them
from all of the other records.

"and there are favorites, like audience favorites, that we tend to do. over
the years they sort of become like the ones that everybody sings along
with, and those are fun, too."

alan sculley is a freelance writer.

jodi duckett,
asst. features editor

copyright b) 2009, the morning call

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