lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: reunion


1994-xx-xx: swamp ophelia, epic press release:

"that loss of youthful fire, the end of that period when you broke the boundaries, when you ran as hard as you could. you got older and started to temper yourself 'cause you thought that was the way to fit in. but in doing that, people seemed to shy away from their really good experiences and to dramatize the bad things. 'faith is one thing that's hard to deliver'- that's really the crux of the song."

"musically, it was real simple. emily and i did the arrangement, and we put in a modulation, almost aturn-of-the-century waltz type thing. we cut it live with jerry and sara, then the roches sang what we call the la-la section, then michael lorant sang his part. danny thompson put on the stand-up bass when we sent him a tape in england, and emily played the bouzouki."

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1994-10-07: out in the open, the akron beacon journal:

reunion was written after attending her high school reunion and has to do with finding confidence. "as i got older i started feeling more secure. we're all precious and beautiful and have faith and stuff like that."

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1994-12-03: the spectrum - philadelphia, pennsylvania:

"so i went to my high school reunion about a year and a half ago. and (laughs). it was a really, it was um, a weird and ambivalent experience, because i had actually i had a very good time in high school and emily didn't. and um so i went expecting the best. and um i had this friend, that, that sort of, i went around with and every time i would go up to somebody and give them a hug or shake their hand or something, my friend would take me over to the side of the room and say, 'you know, that, that person you just, you just hugged over there, they hated you in high school they made fun of you every day.' and i was like, 'shit!'. so i just kinda, i chalked it up to experience and felt like it didn't really matter and i could be friends with anybody anyway. so this is about faith in yourself."

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1995-xx-xx: interview by kirsti reeve:

"well... it was sort of.. i had a feeling that people were becoming sort of complascent, and not havingthat belief and faith in themselves, you know...it was very...there was a lot of...i mean, i'm friends withpeople from high school still, and i felt that a lot of negativity in conversation. rather than talking aboutthings they are proud of in themselves, they talked about a lot of the negative things in their life. it wasreally wierd. when i know that they were achieving like really cool stuff. but i guess it's relative. theydidn't think they were achieving good things. so it was kind of...i felt sometimes, like, coz, being popularin music is considered to be so valid, such a point of...something that people strive for.. i felt like somepeople didn't think that what they were doing was as exciting or interesting, and they would play it downto me, and that really bummed me out, coz i'm really into what other people are doing with themselves."

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1995-03: closest to fine, queensland pride:

perhaps one of the most remarkable things about the indigo girls is the melding which takes place between their distinctive styles. part of their creative process is coming together to hear each other's work and discuss the dynamics of individual songs.

"we have a very analytical way of doing it actually," amy said. "we go through it and say, 'this sounds like something you might sing'. or i'll have six extra lines that i couldn't put into a song, that are really important. like in reunion (on swamp ophelia), i had a whole extra verse so i stuck it behind another verse [as a harmony]. that's a thing we always do. anytime you hear extra words in there, it's something that we couldn't fit into the song."

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2000-10-03: retrospective liner notes:

"i went to my ten yr. high school reunion and wrote this song when i got home. it's just observations, the way people act around apparent success and the juxtaposition of what is real and what isn't. the things i wanted to hold onto from high school were energy and faith."

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2019-03-26: lucy wainwright roche: five essential indigo girls songs, wfuv.org:

"reunion" (amy ray), swamp ophelia (1994)

how does one write fiercely about feelings of defensiveness, alienation - even anger - and still remain open hearted toward the "other" person in the situation? check it out. she does it here in this song. amy is able to talk about the desperate separateness that plagues us and, at the same time, acknowledges that we're all in need of being seen with empathy. emily's parts on this song are incredibly compelling and sweep you up into the track. the breaks between lyrics are largely defined by her signature intricate guitar melodies which are intense, gorgeous, and strong. give this one a listen on some good headphones. the whole track fits together like a complex puzzle.

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2020-05-21: the countermelodies that changed us: a lifetime of loving indigo girls, national public radio:

countermelody is a foundational form in the indigo girls' musical arrangements, as "reunion" (composed by amy) and "the wood song" (composed by emily), both from 1994's swamp ophelia, most clearly illustrate, though nearly all of their compositions to this day feature it in some way or other. the basest definition for a countermelody is that it's a subordinate or secondary melody played alongside, or in counterpoint with, a primary melody. a countermelody played by itself can be beautiful all on its own, yet it becomes something infinitely more special, and more gratifying when you hear it interact with the main line. sometimes an untrained ear can drift to a well-crafted countermelody and hear it as the main one. in my mind, no songwriting style models humility more, nor captures the indigo girls' ethos better than this generous interplay with subordination, this mutual willingness to take the countermelody in one circumstance, with the trust and knowledge that you'll get your turn taking the lead in another. this graceful alternation has defined the indigo girls from their time picking out harmonies in the ray family's basement, to their first years gigging together again in atlanta after each abandoned their efforts to leave town for college.


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