lifeblood: listlogs: 2006v09n069-news

ig-news-digest         sunday, october 8 2006         volume 09 : number 069

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] newark star-ledger article  [sherlyn koo <]


date: sat, 7 oct 2006 16:11:08 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] newark star-ledger article

hi folks,

here's an article from the newark star-ledger.  you can read it online at:

also, there's an article in the baltimore sun that i won't post because it's
nothing too new, but you can read it online here:,0,


- ---begin forwarded article---
indigo girls soften political rhetoric
childhood friends from georgia performing together for 2 decades
friday, october 06, 2006
by jay lustig
star-ledger staff

"dear mr. president," from punky pop singer pink's recent album, is one of the
nastiest protest songs in recent memory, asking questions such as "how do you
sleep while the rest of us cry?" and "how do you walk with your head held high?"

the folk-rock duo the indigo girls sang backup on "dear mr. president." but
while there are some topical references on their own new album, "despite our
differences," they are far less blunt.

"i'm not a great didactic political songwriter," says amy ray, 42, who forms the
atlanta-based duo with fellow singer-songwriter-guitarist emily saliers, 43.
"when it comes to me, i'll do it, but i'm not going to force it,'cause it just
would come off wrong. i've tried to write songs about the (bush) administration,
but it's so paralyzing. it's like, where do you start?"

instead, when writing for "despite our differences," ray focused on people she
knows. "dirt and dead ends," for example, is about a neighbor with a drug
problem. "rock and roll heaven's gate" is about a band -- described as "three
political queers plucking the punk-rock bloom" -- that contemplates breaking up.

"here's to your survival and swimming up the stream, crossing over one dam after
another, until we get to rock'n' roll heaven's gate," she and saliers sing.
pink, returning the favor for "dear mr. president," chimes in, too.

"i'm talking to myself ... it's to harden myself, too," ray says. "sometimes i
feel like when women try to play rock and be more subversive, or more political,
or more queer ... it's just harder, there are more hurdles. also, i'm looking at
the fact that, in the musical world, everything's pretty cyclical. there's a
trend and a backlash, a trend and a backlash, back and forth, back and forth."

the indigo girls, who perform in newark on wednesday and in new york on oct. 13
with backing by drummer matt chamberlain, bassist clare kenny and keyboardist
carol isaacs (roman candle opens), have managed to survive those backlashes
better than most.

childhood friends in decatur, ga., they began performing together in the
southeast in the mid-'80s, and broke through in 1989 with a self-titled album on
the major label epic and a hit single, "closer to fine." with their ambitiously
intertwined vocals, forcefully strummed guitars and complex personalities --
saliers' writing can be either intensely literate or buoyantly cheerful, while
ray is both a rocker and a brooder -- they built a huge following. by 1997, they
were headlining at madison square garden.

they and epic parted ways after last year's "rarities" album. "despite our
differences" came out on the smaller hollywood label.

"it reinvigorates you (to be on a new label), but we would be doing what we do
whether we got a deal or not," ray says. "we don't have expectations that we're
going to have no. 1 hits or anything. but we have a feeling that we're with a
group of people who are enthusiastic, and that's nice."

the album also marks the duo's first collaboration with veteran producer
mitchell froom, who has worked with elvis costello, los lobos, sheryl crow and
crowded house. ray says froom helped keep the album's sound simple and direct.

"he wants there to be as little as possible: don't have extra notes, don't have
extra things you don't need," she says. "if something's not good enough, don't
try to just cover it up with something else.

"we have always wanted to work with him,'cause we like what he's done, and he
just has a certain ... mitchell froomness. i don't know what it is. he's very
humble about it, but we feel that it's huge, the way he affects things."

) 2006  the star ledger
) 2006 all rights reserved.

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