lifeblood: listlogs: 2009v11n039-news

ig-news-digest          friday, may 22 2009          volume 11 : number 039

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] times-picayune article    [sherlyn koo <>]


date: fri, 22 may 2009 10:04:20 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] times-picayune article

hey folks,

here's an article from the new orleans times-picayune.  you can read it
online at


- ---begin forwarded article---
on their new double album, the indigo girls serve up acoustic and fully
amplified versions of their songs
posted by mcmontoy may 21, 2009 04:35am

pals since high school, indigo girls emily saliers, left, and amy ray still
make vital, fresh-sounding albums.

the split personality of the indigo girls' new "poseidon and the bitter
bug" manifests itself in two cds: one with a full band, the other acoustic.
they contain mostly the same songs, sequenced differently.

including an acoustic alternative "was in reaction to comments from fans
about the last record, that they really wanted to hear us in the raw," said
amy ray, one half of the indigo girls, during a recent interview.

acoustic guitars and harmonies have served as the indigo girls' sonic
trademarks for 30 years, ever since ray and emily saliers first
collaborated as georgia high school students. but they do not necessarily
write acoustic songs.

"on every record we've made recently, probably 80 percent of the stuff we
write and arrange with each other," ray said. "and then there's another few
songs where the plan is to jam it out with the band."

ray and saliers perform saturday, may 23 at tipitina's, augmented by a
keyboardist. the indigo girls played a september 2007 benefit at tipitina's
for sweet home new orleans, an organization that assists musicians
post-katrina. saturday's show will also raise money for sweet home new
orleans via a raffle or auction for a chance to sing the indigo girls'
signature "closer to fine" with the band.

because they generally deploy acoustic guitars on stage, "we want to give
the audience a different experience on the records," ray said. "but emily
and i have different perspectives on production. she had always felt like
on a recording, something that you sit and listen to in a stagnant
environment, what we do is enhanced by production.

"i don't totally agree with that. some of my favorite albums are things
like bruce springsteen's 'nebraska,' stuff that's really bare. but we
hadn't had a set of songs that every single song would work that way until
this record."

"poseidon and the bitter bug" sounds very much like classic indigo girls.
yet it is not indigo girls-by-numbers; three decades in, they can still
muster fresh vigor.

"we try not to fall back into a pattern, although there are some patterns,
like building harmonies," ray said. "but we try not to fall into the same
harmonic arrangements and structures."

their multi-album working relationship with producer mitchell froom helps.
"on this album, we knew him better, and he knew us. he found his stride
with us. he makes us stretch; we really trust him."

case in point: ray's "sugar tongue," which strays from her typical chord
progression and vocal range. lyrics that riff on "colonialism and
consumerism and hedonism on the backs of other people, animals and the
ecosystem" are leavened with a "musical sensuality that wasn't so
didactic," ray said. "i wanted it to be soft and courtly and imperial."

she wrote "salty south," which appears only on the acoustic "poseidon"
disc, about her father's home in florida, where the activist band has
worked with a seminole tribe.

"it's an easygoing, sentimental song with politicized cues in it," ray
said. "it's about things disappearing and us trying to adjust and put stuff
back where it was because we realized we (screwed) up. and then we make it

in "second time around," a friend's uncomfortable experience at a loretta
lynn concert in cherokee, n.c., is spun into a lesson about finding one's
place in sometimes inhospitable environs. the openly gay ray has lived in a
rural corner of georgia for 17 years.

"there's a core group of people that are really progressive, but for the
most part it's a very conservative area," she said. "i'm pretty out of
place, and i love it. i can relate to the south because i'm from the south,
and i don't mind being around people that feel differently from me.

"often the places we love so much reject us, as a gay person. in a general
sense, you feel, 'am i going to be accepted?' but on a one-to-one basis,
you start realizing there are people that will take you in and accept you.
you have to work with your neighbors and not judge a book by its cover, and
be willing to join that experience. that's what i'm saying in the song:
stand up for who you are, but also try to join in the experience that may
scare you."

in the highly autobiographical "driver education," the 45-year-old ray
traces her formative years against a 1970s backdrop of suburbs, pixy sticks
and the "crushed cars of driver education."

the lyrics are "pretty straight-up," she said, laughing. in high school,
she "fell for guys who tried to commit suicide" but now "it's tattooed
girls with a past they can't remember." she's written about one particular
bad boy before.

"i think it's a developmental phase, when you're gay, to go for the matt
dillon character in 'the outsiders,'" she joked. "we can't help it."

the indigo girls
with: katie herzig
when: saturday, may 23, 10 p.m.
where: tipitina's, 501 napoleon ave., 504.895.8477
tickets: $20 advance, $25 at the door.

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