lifeblood: listlogs: 2003v06n088-news


ig-news-digest       thursday, september 4 2003       volume 06 : number 088

today's subjects:
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  [ig-news] accessatlanta front page article     [shedyourskin23@hotmail.com]
  [ig-news] vcr alert for ga folks...            [mike@uppity-disability.net]
  [ig-news] harmonic convergence                      [dweiden@ix.netcom.com]

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date: wed 3-sep-2003 8:26am
from: shedyourskin23@hotmail.com
subject: [ig-news] accessatlanta front page article

[sherlyn's note: this message was originally sent to the indigo girls
mailing list at netspace.org.]

hey all--check out the front page article on the girls on today's accessatlanta (re: hall of fame induction). the print version comes out this week, so if you live here in the atlanta area too try and pick one up. i am sure there will be a write up there as well. cheers, jennifer
www.accessatlanta.com

"i think we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create and who we include."

"good friends are hard to find. especially in tall grass."

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date: wed 3-sep-2003 8:42am
from: mike@uppity-disability.net
subject: [ig-news] vcr alert for ga folks...

[sherlyn's note: this is an excerpt of a message which was originally
sent to the indigo girls mailing list at netspace.org.]

from the access atlanta article

joining indigo girls as this year's inductees are country singer kenny
rogers, independent record label owner mike curb and producer alan walden.
performances are scheduled to include an acoustic set by indigo girls and
music by rogers, third day, nia, stevens and georgia music talent search
winner nicole crews.
the ceremony and performances will air live on gptv/channel 8 at 8:30 p.m.
- -- phil kloer

[...]

mike r.

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------------------------------

date: wed 3-sep-2003 6:58pm
from: dweiden@ix.netcom.com
subject: [ig-news] harmonic convergence

[sherlyn's note: this message was originally sent to the indigo girls
mailing list at netspace.org.]

harmonic convergence
on the eve of their induction into the georgia music
hall of fame, atlanta's indigo girls still go their
own way

by phil kloer
the atlanta journal-constitution


laura noel / staff
indigo girls amy ray (left) and emily saliers have
come a long way since meeting in elementary school in
decatur. a grammy award and four platinum albums
later, they still exist outside the musical
mainstream, oblivious to trends.

on a saturday night at summer's end, amanda voss
abandons a good cause for a good reason.

at an indigo girls concert at the arena at gwinnett
center, she's staffing a table for wand, a women's
political action group. she hands out pamphlets and
bumper stickers -- a common sight at indigo concerts,
where activist groups abound. but soon after the
performance starts, voss bails and heads into the
arena.

there, on a bare stage, amy ray is leaning somewhat
aggressively into her microphone stand, right foot
planted firmly forward, while emily saliers, on ray's
left, stands back a bit, bobbing her head to the
rhythm. their acoustic guitars chime in unison, and
their harmonies wrap around each other, intertwined
like roses on a trellis.

"gotta tend the earth if you want a rose," they sing,
on "hammer and a nail."

"it's really critical the way they use their fame and
celebrity in a positive way," says voss, a graduate
student at emory university. "they're able to educate
their whole audience."

most of the time, indigo girls fans don't have to
make voss's choice -- between political activism and
the music -- because with ray and saliers, the two are
as inextricably linked as their harmonies.

backstage in saliers' dressing room, the folk duo
appear to be nonchalant about their next big date --
sept. 13, when they'll be inducted into the georgia
music hall of fame, to join ray charles, the b-52's
and others.

"we'll just see what happens," shrugs saliers, who
turned 40 in july.

"we're just gonna play some songs," says ray, 39,
approaching blasi.

but don't buy the apparent lack of excitement, says
susan tanner, one of their best friends. "they're
funny like that," she says. "the truth is they're
tickled."

in a career that's marking roughly 20 years,
atlanta's indigo girls (there's no "the" in the name,
although even the new york times can't resist adding
one) have won a grammy award, and four of their seven
albums have gone platinum, selling more than 1 million
copies each. yet they exist almost in a parallel
universe to mainstream commercial music, ignored by
radio and mtv, defiantly untrendy, appealing to a
passionately committed core audience that has a large
lesbian component, but plenty of straights as well.

as feminist author susan faludi writes in the liner
notes for "retrospective," their greatest-hits album,
"emily and amy have navigated their own route to
musical significance in an era when the recording
industry prefers to pour its vast largesse on . . .
barely pubescent babes who measure their liberation by
the number of clothes they shed. they have resisted
instant celebrification and its instant obolescence."

that resistance appeals to their fans but has not
helped their record sales. their last three cds didn't
even go gold (500,000 sold), after their first four
went platinum.

"if i hear any of their songs on the radio, it's
'closer to fine' or something 10 or 12 years old,"
says atlanta fan dave slusher, a software engineer.
"it's frustrating, because i think 'become you' [the
title track of last year's cd] is one of the best
songs they've ever done."

"we do our thing," saliers says, "and we have a great
fan base, and they keep us going and we try to keep
the music fresh."

"i don't think having a big-selling album is really
important to them," says mike clark, co-owner of
atlanta's southern tracks recording, where the duo has
worked. "everybody likes to see big numbers, but they
don't compromise their integrity to get them."

one heart

ray and saliers, who've been friends since elementary
school, are partners in almost every sense (except
romantically).

"they pretty much have the same heart," says andrea
white, another longtime friend, who manages ray's
record label, daemon. each writes her own songs
individually and generally sings lead on her songs.
but in the studio or in concert, their harmonies and
the interplay of their instruments, which include
banjo and mandolin, are like one heart beating.

"they write about their own issues and what they're
going through," says their friend tanner. "it's such a
natural thing for them to create this way and bring it
to each other, and then create the harmonies and
finish out the song."

a common view is that ray is a little more political
and harder-edged (her huskier voice may help that
perception), while saliers' songs are more emotional
and personal, as her voice floats a little higher than
ray's.

"there's a sentimental side to emily," says slusher,
"and amy is a little angrier and a little rockier."

faludi calls this "cheap and easy dualism," but
tanner says the two are "a lot of times like night and
day. hopi [a nickname for ray, a big supporter of
native american causes] can be a lot more serious, and
emmy's always cutting jokes."

the two are serious about making music together --
nearly all of this year has been spent recording their
next album, which is due out early next year, or
touring. at the moment they're in los angeles, mixing
the still-untitled disc, and they'll fly back to
atlanta for just one day for the hall of fame
induction. although they both maintain bases here,
they're gone a lot.

when she's home, saliers still lives in decatur and
loves the sense of community there, she says. ray has
moved outside atlanta to a rural area, which she
doesn't want to talk about. "stalkers," she says, not
kidding.

for years, they both lived in the decatur area, where
they grew up and went to shamrock high school (now a
middle school). at shamrock, they would bring their
guitars and put on shows in ellis brown's english
class, some of their first public performances. ray
was popular, president of her class her sophomore and
junior years. saliers hated high school ("it was
cruel") and was in the chorus.

activism undimmed

both already had the seeds of the political awareness
that would help define them as adults and help bond
their fans to them.

"i was into the hippie era, drawing peace signs on
everything," recalls ray. "when you're 6 or 7 or 8,
who knows why you're relating to that? my parents were
conservative, but i was taught the idea of tithing
coming up through the methodist church. i picked up on
this idea that you give back to the community."

saliers' parents were as liberal as ray's were
conservative; her father studied with the famous
anti-war activist william sloane coffin at yale. "i
knew stuff was going on," saliers says. "it planted
the seeds. at a very young age, we wanted to marry
music with activism."

the results of that marriage now extend to groups
such as the national coalition to abolish the death
penalty, greenpeace, the national gay and lesbian task
force, choice usa and handgun control inc. -- just
some that have tables at their concerts, like the wand
table in gwinnett -- links on the indigos' web site or
plugs in the liner notes of their records. and they've
raised nearly $500,000 through benfit concerts for
honor the earth, a native american environmental
group.

although the current republican administration is
well-supported in public opinion polls, that doesn't
deter the indigos from ramping up their activism even
more.

"the polls are incongruous," says ray. "people say we
like bush but we hate what's going on with the
economy, we're worried about the middle east and iraq.


"it doesn't make sense," she continues. "you can't be
happy with your president and worried about all the
things that are going on. it's like someone telling me
they're pro-choice, pro-gay and pro-gun control but
they're gonna vote republican because of economics. at
the root of your problem, you're not seeing how social
values are connected with economic values.

"our activism is that we're going to try to get
people to vote. the biggest party is the party of
non-voters."

enriched partnership

with their success have come solo ventures. saliers
is co-owner of the decatur restaurant watershed,
acclaimed for the southern cooking of chef scott
peacock. ("i'm mostly the pr person and the moral
support for the restaurant," saliers explains. "i
don't really have a job there.") she's also co-writing
a book with her father, don, a professor at emory
university's candler school of theology, about their
common love of music.

ray started her own independent label, daemon
records, in 1989. headquartered in decatur, daemon has
released about 50 cds so far, spanning all sorts of
genres, from jazz to hip hop, with an emphais on
original songwriting. ray's 2001 solo album, "stag,"
was on daemon, and she's writing songs for a second
solo venture.

"we do our separate things so when we come together
we can still enjoy being indigo girls," says saliers.

"it gives you an outlet, helps keep your space your
space,and it always enriches the partnership," adds
ray.

back in 1987, when they were just another fledgling
atlanta group playing little five points bars, the
indigos appeared on a collection of local bands titled
"don't eat out of dented cans." slusher was a disc
jockey at georgia tech radio station wrek, found a
copy of it lying on the floor and played their track,
"walk away," making him perhaps the first dj to play
the duo's music.

a fan for 16 years now, he observes, "sometimes when
they're pulling apart is when they come together the best."

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end of ig-news-digest v6 #88
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