lifeblood: listlogs: 2003v06n080-news

ig-news-digest         monday, august 18 2003         volume 06 : number 080

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] why the girls go for indigo               []


date: sun 17-aug-2003 9:52pm
subject: [ig-news] why the girls go for indigo

[sherlyn's note: this message was originally sent to the indigo girls
mailing list at  this article is from the washington

why the girls go for indigo
amy ray chats about the indigo girls? current tour,
their upcoming cd and why lesbians relate to the band

by brian moylan

the indigo girls, the folk/rock duo with the large
lesbian following, are coming to town next week. for
the past several years, they?ve been visiting this
region every summer.

?we?re just on tour to kind of play some of our new
songs and work them out a bit,? explains amy ray. ?we
always have new songs. even when we don?t have a new
album, we have new songs.?

ray and emily salier, both lesbians, met while in grad
school in atlanta, and burst onto the music scene in
1989. then, they had a hit with ?closer to fine,? and
won a grammy for best contemporary folk album for
their self-titled debut. (that same year, though, they
lost the best new artist grammy to milli vanilli.)

since then, the indigo girls have released 11 albums,
done lots of touring and successfully cultivated a
huge gay ? but especially lesbian ? fan base.

while ray and salier, who are not a couple, were never
locked in the closet, they didn?t come out until the
lyrics of a song on 1997?s ?shaming of the sun? album
announced that they are gay.

the indigo girls have said that they don?t want to be
pigeonholed as a ?lesbian band,? but ray is glad the
group has a lot of gay fans.

?as a woman in the world, it?s hard to find a
consistent set of women who are out playing music, and
as gay women it?s even harder because everything is so
heterosexual-based,? she says. ?it?s all geared around
relationships between men and women. the romance of
rock ?n? roll is about a young male rock star falling
in love with a woman.?

to some extent, ray says everyone can identify with

?but at a certain point, you just want to hear
something you can relate to,? she adds. ?i think
that?s why the lesbian audience is with us.?

but there is more to their lesbian appeal than just
the fact that they are women singing about falling in
love with women.

?it?s not just who we?re sleeping with, it?s a common
universe of images and sounds, and a way of looking at
the world,? ray says.

the lesbian-centric appeal may be one reason to go see
the duo. another reason is that this summer the indigo
girls are on tour without a band and without electric

using acoustic guitars, ray and saliers will be on the
stage alone at wolf trap in vienna, va., monday
evening, serving up the lush harmonies and folk
rhythms that put them on the map.

they have a somewhat unorthodox way of preparing for
their performances.

?we do it at dinner before we play,? ray explains. ?we
sit down and make a set list and practice anything we
don?t know. there are always songs we need to review.?

the women also have other ways to connect with their
fans at concerts.

?we?ll have a certain number of people who go to every
show in a row and they make requests, and we play
their requests the next night,? she adds. ?we always
consider the audience.?

ray says the indigo girls also consider the type of
venues in which they are playing.

?when we?re playing outside, we know we need to do
lots of things that will draw people together, because
the focus is so dispersed, so we?re less likely to
play a ballad that no one knows,? ray explains.

with the material they plan to share monday, there
most likely will be new songs that no one in the
audience has ever heard. this is because they are
slowly moving in another direction.

the band?s 2002 cd, ?become you,? was more
acoustic-based than some of their previous albums, and
the music being written for their still untitled new
cd, which is scheduled to be released in early 2004,
is a bit heavier on the rock.

?it?s much more diverse,? ray notes.

and after the success of her 1999 solo album, ?stag,?
ray is now working on another solo project with the
lesbian punk trio the butchies.

?it?s different on a lot of levels. the emphasis
lyrically is songs i feel more comfortable singing as
a singular voice,? she explains. ?the last album was a
lot about gender and my relationships with men ? and
the man in me. it felt like one voice needed to be
saying these things.

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