lifeblood: listlogs: 2010v12n007-news

ig-news-digest         friday, march 19 2010         volume 12 : number 007

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] amy interview from the press democrat  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pix]


date: fri, 19 mar 2010 11:05:01 +1100
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] amy interview from the press democrat

hi folks,

here's an amy interview for the press democrat in santa rosa ca. you can
read it online at:

- -sherlyn

- ---begin forwarded article---
after two decades, indigo girls still going strong

by john beck
for the press democrat

published: thursday, march 18, 2010 at 10:02 a.m.

when the indigo girls first harmonized three decades ago in a rural georgia
high school, the initial spark was a james taylor song they sung together
in a talent show.

something just clicked. amy ray admits she adored emily saliers, who was a
grade ahead of her.

"i just thought she was an amazing songwriter even then," ray said.

as they evolved, the two very different songwriters would find common
ground for some of the sweetest harmonies and most personal, literary songs
to come out of the south in the past quarter century. songs like "galileo,"
"closer to fine" and "power of two" have become classics of the folk genre.

now, 12 studio albums later and boasting one of the most loyal fanbases in
the music biz, they've returned to their indie roots for a new record --
"poseidon and the bitter bug." after 13 years with epic records (including
the 1989 grammy-winning "indigo girls") and a short-lived, one-album stint
with hollywood records, they've abandoned the major-label paradigm. they're
also on the verge of independently releasing a live double-album recorded
over the past four years.

taking a break before hitting the road again and swinging by the wells
fargo center on march 25, ray took time out to chat about writing hooks,
her southern heritage and the boss:

q: are you feeling good about the move to go indie?

a: yeah, we're feeling really good about it. it's enabling us to move
faster on to other projects as well. the record went really well and we
felt like we were in control of spending and the business and logistical
side of things, whereas sometimes you feel like you're wasting a lot of
money and you don't know where it's going.

q: how would you describe the difference between your songwriting and
emily's songwriting?

a: emily has often more complex chord structures, i think. and our language
is really different from each other. hers is -- i don't even know how to
describe it.

q: after more than two decades?

a: she talks a lot about relationships.

q: is she more personal than you are?

a: i don't think so. we're both pretty intimate in our writing. but if i
tell stories from my neck of the woods, it's personal but it's like my
perspective on something. with her, it's more inter-personal relationships
and she's kind of in there. and her language is more complex, too. my
language is very kind of organic and kind of from where i am. it's very
southern. a lot of my references and the way i'm nature-oriented, my images
might draw from something more pastoral. it probably has something to do
with living out in the woods for the past 20 years (in the mountains
outside atlanta).

q: i imagine you've seen your voices evolve quite a bit over the years.

a: i usually say that emily is more complex and i'm more simple, but lately
i've thought that's not really the case. emily has a knack for simplicity
sometimes to really write that one-hook line that everyone can sing along
with. and i don't really have that thing. it's like having your finger on
the pulse. it's crazy. and i can almost point out what line it's gonna be.

q: you can feel it coming when you hear the song for the first time?

a: yeah, it's like -- that's the one everybody's gonna sing.

q: what are some examples?

a: well, like in "fill it up again"? everybody sings "fill it up again."

q: and you could feel that coming the first time you heard it?

a: yeah, because it's not just the line itself, but the way she sets it up
in the song and the phrasing and there'll be like a stop right before it.
and on "fleet of hope," people don't sing along with it yet, but they will,
but everybody claps. it's the line "i've always known, i was waiting for
me." i'm like, "that's the line that everybody's going to relate to on your

q: how is (two-time indigo girls producer) mitchell froom able to bridge
that gap between the two of you?

a: i think because he takes each song as an individual, specific song
instead of looking at it as this is emily's or this is amy's. he doesn't
really think about that. it's more about, what's the core of the song here?

q: can you take me back to the first time the two of you harmonized

a: emily was a year older than me and already writing a lot of songs. we
were in the school choir together and we decided we were going to learn a
song for a talent show. we learned a song called "junkie's lament" by james

q: at the age of what?

a: 16 (laughter) -- i know, we were dark children. we liked the obscure. i
think i was caught up in how good emily was and i was always playing
catch-up. but i think for us it was just really exciting to discover
somebody that you just click with musically. it just feels so exciting, you
want to do it all the time. she went off to school before i did and i would
go and visit. she was in new orleans and we would busk in jackson square.
we would play in bars with special permission from our parents. it was just
really fun. we weren't about our jobs or career moves.

q: do you ever think -- wow, i can't believe we're still at it after two

a: oh yeah. all the time. especially when i'm hanging out with musicians
and they're just ascending and i think -- wow, i'm lucky to still be
around. we don't have moments like opening for rem anymore -- moments that
are just mind-blowing. hopefully we'll have more like that. like if we
opened for bruce springsteen -- that would be a "pinch-me" moment or "kill
me now."

bay area freelancer john beck writes about entertainment for the press
democrat. you can reach him at 280-8014, and follow
on twitter @becksay.

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end of ig-news-digest v12 #7

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