lifeblood: listlogs: 2009v11n057-news

ig-news-digest         saturday, july 11 2009         volume 11 : number 057

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] san luis obispo tribune emily interview  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@p]
  [ig-news] santa barbara independent amy interview  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@p]


date: sat, 11 jul 2009 12:11:49 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] san luis obispo tribune emily interview

hey folks,

here's an emily interview from the san luis obispo tribune.  you can find it online at


- ---begin forwarded message---
saturday, jul 11, 2009
posted on thu, jul. 09, 2009
music: the indigo girls
sarah linn

like countless musicians before her, emily saliers has always spoken her mind.

"i just think it's the nature of singer-songwriters," said saliers, one half of the folk rock duo indigo girls. "you come into the world reflecting on what's going on around you, and music becomes your medium for that reflection."

for the indigo girls, in fact, music has become a tool for activism and social change.

long considered icons of the gay rights movement, emily saliers and bandmate amy ray are strong advocates of such causes as the environment, american indian rights and the anti-death-penalty movement.

they've teamed up with winona laduke to raise awareness and support for indigenous environmental issues. and they've appeared at countless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender events, including the true colors tour in 2007 and 2008. (both women identify themselves as lesbians.)

on saturday, the indigo girls perform as the headliners of central coast pride, sponsored by the gay and lesbian alliance of the central coast.

fast friends since high school, saliers and ray started performing together as the indigo girls in 1985. two years later, they released their first full-length album, "strange fire."

over the past two decades or so, the indigo girls have released 10 major-label studio albums -- including their grammy award-winning debut on epic records -- and built a fervent fan base.

the indigo girls' latest album, the two-cd "poseidon and the bitter bug," brings the duo full-circle. released in march, it's the band's first independent album since 1987.

saliers recently spoke with the tribune about her music, her activism and her close relationship with amy ray.

q: what's it been like to make "poseidon and the bitter bug" independently?

a: there's nothing really that a record label can do for us anymore. it's a fruitless relationship. and it feels very liberating to have our own complete autonomy.

in other words, we don't have to approve projects through the record label. we don't have to worry that they're spending money on marketing that's just a waste of money. everything is inhouse.... we've been around so long that we've developed all the relationships we need to continue on. ... it does put the burden on you financially. but we just have faith it's all going to work out.

q: you have a very dedicated fan base.

a: they really are faithful and loyal and now we've been around so long that they've had kids and all the kids are coming to the concerts. (laughs) we're like a second-generation band. ...

it's not easy for a lot of bands and artists to make a living at the very least. and then to be able to maintain it for years and years ... it's a testament to our fans and their loyalty.

q: how have you managed to maintain that fan base?

a: we write a lot about questions that i think our fans ask as well. we've had many people say that it's a soundtrack for their lives. and so i think it's just the kind of music that they can take along with them, that still speaks to them. it's not like something they get interested in for a while

and then move on to different artists. we're lifelong friend-type artists.

q: what kind of questions do you write about?

a: some of them are existential, like, "why are we here?" some of them are reflections on love, which most of us grapple with one way or the other. we're not like a fun party band, (laughs) although hopefully we're fun sometimes. we write quite heavy lyrical content and reflective-type music. our fans are drawn to that.

q: over the years, you and amy ray have become well-known as lgbt activists.

a: i think obviously because we're both gay it was a natural path for us to take. ... we're in the midst of a civil rights movement for queer people, and if you're queer, you'd better be taking part. there's a lot of work to be done. there's a lot of people who still suffer....

actually, i'd say the bulk of our work is done in social environmental justice issues through the native communities.... we owe a lot to those communities that taught us how to be effective and try to make change.

q: do you see all these different areas of activism as connected?

a: absolutely. it's the same huge issue of who's got the power, who's got the money, who's got the political voice. in terms of environmentalism, that's the thread that binds us all. we have to live on this earth and breathe the air and drink the water....we've all got to live together.

q: what's your creative process like?

a: we write our songs separately. amy's got a book of notes that she scribbles down things in, and i write things down when they come to me. ... over the course of time, the seeds are planted and the songs start to grow.

when we're getting ready to get closer to a project i really, really hunker down and focus on writing. it's much more of a discipline for each of us now than it ever used to be. it's not when you're 21 and the muse visits you all the time. i used to write five songs a day. (laughs) it's not like that any more. ...when we're ready to make a record, we get together. ... we start brainstorming on ideas for harmonies or instrumentation and that's when they become indigo girls songs.

q: how can you tell when a song is "ready"?

a: that's a good question and a hard one to answer. i think you just sort of intuitively know. amy just finished her third solo record so ... she knows which (songs) she wants to have indigo girls do and which ones are going to be amy ray solo songs. ... i know that i'm writing first of all just to write and second of all, for us. so if i like a song, i have faith just through our experience that we can put that song together. and we like each other's music, so that helps.

we don't have ego clashes. it's a very equitable, democratic friendship and working relationship.

q: how do you keep a relationship like yours going?

a: we don't see each other when we're not working. amy's off in the woods and i'm more of a city girl. we don't hang out. we don't chat on the phone like pals. we have completely separate lives, and we're involved in different individual projects in our lives. so i think it's really our differences and our separateness that have kept us together.

(c) 2009 san luis obispo tribune and wire service sources. all rights reserved.

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date: sat, 11 jul 2009 12:19:56 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] santa barbara independent amy interview

hey folks,

here's an amy interview from the santa barbara independent.  it's online at


- ---begin forwarded article---
the indigo girls return to santa barbara
amy ray and emily saliers bring poseidon and the bitter bug to granada

by brett leigh dicks

thursday, july 9, 2009

it was a little more than 20 years ago that the indigo girls independently released their debut album, strange fire. with 10 subsequent major label releases, the georgia-based duo of amy ray and emily saliers forged an enviable musical presence through a combination of empathy and devotion to both their craft and their audience. when the indigo girls return to santa barbara this week to play the granada theatre, they'll do so with a whole new collection of material, this year's poseidon and the bitter bug. the disk heralds the duo's return to the independent ranks of music-making, and, according to amy ray, it's a move that feels more right than ever before.

each of your albums has its own voice. do the tours and performances reflect that, or are your shows more an entity unto themselves?

that's an interesting question because the last few records we've made, when we went on tour with them, we didn't play every song from the record. we still mixed in a lot of old material, and for a few years the shows felt pretty consistent. i feel like this album has made a little more of a mark on our shows because we're playing almost every song from the record every night and it's because the songs really work.

what has the reaction been from those in the crowd?

the audience actually seems to want that. with some records, we could feel that we were playing a little too much new material, but on this record it doesn't feel that way. people are singing along and seem to know all the new songs and request them as much as the old ones, so it's making more of mark.

why do you think that is?

i think there are a lot of reasons. this is the first record we have done independently since the beginning of our career and i think that always makes people feel a little more community-orientated. and for some reason we have both really hit our stride at the same time as far as songwriting goes. we also worked with the same producer, mitchell froom, who did our last record, and that working relationship evolved into this record. we really listened to his ideas and took them to heart and that really improved the songs a lot.

after spending most of your career working with major labels, are you enjoying the freedom of going independent?

it feels good because it feels like we're working for our own little family and the audiences are included in that. it's a relief that the writing is where it is and we can feel so good about it and feel good about moving forward and making another record.

across the band's lifetime, you have seen countless musical trends come and go. what do you think was the secret to sustaining such a strong following through all of that?

i think it's consistency. it's touring and having a consistent relationship with your audience that's honest. the idea is to stay passionate about what you do and to keep evolving. the songs have to be there, but it doesn't mean that every single song has to be great. i think it just comes down to consistency, and there are so many pieces to that puzzle. we've had the same agent and manager for 20 years. we take our friend on the road to open for us. so it has become this familiar experience. that then allows us to bring in different, fresh things to keep us excited and to introduce the audience to new music as well.

you mentioned that every single song doesn't have to be great. how analytical do you find yourself in hindsight?

i am analytical for about 15 seconds. i don't let it bother me. i am very much an in-the-moment kind of person. i feel that when i really started dedicating myself and working hard that i got better at what i did, so if i look at some of the older material [from] when i wasn't doing that, i understand why it's not as good as it should be. ... and that's just because i don't spend enough time on it!

given that both you and emily write for the band, do you find you can still surprise each other?

yes, actually! on this record, emily wrote a song called 'digging for your dreams" that's got a kind of r&b feel to it and a very different range for her voice and a different phrasing, and i was like, 'wow!" i loved it! i knew where it came from because i know what her influences are, but i have never heard her actually write from those influences in that way. the hope is that with every record we write, something rises above what we have done or captures something different within us. i think if we don't do that then we would be less inspired by each other's material.

the indigo girls play the granada theatre (1214 state st.) with bon iver's justin vernon on tuesday, july 14, at 7:30 p.m. call 899-2222 or visit for tickets.

the indigo girls

    * when: tuesday, july 14, 2009, 7:30 p.m.
    * where: granada theatre, 1214 state st., santa barbara
    * cost: $35 - $47
    * age limit: not available

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end of ig-news-digest v11 #57

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