lifeblood: listlogs: 2010v12n008-news


ig-news-digest         tuesday, march 23 2010         volume 12 : number 008


today's subjects:
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  [ig-news] amy interview from albany democrat herald  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn]
  [ig-news] amy interview from the modesto bee  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelo]
  [ig-news] amy interview from xtra west in vancouver  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn]


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date: tue, 23 mar 2010 10:00:02 +1100
from: sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.com>
subject: [ig-news] amy interview from albany democrat herald


hi folks,
sorry, this one's a little late (busy weekend).  here's an amy interview from the democrat herald in albany or.  you can read it online at
http://www.democratherald.com/entertainment/article_cb3b6904-32d7-11df-b44a-001cc4c03286.html?mode=story
cheers,
sherlyn
- ---begin forwarded article---
the power of two
indigo girls concert to benefit corvallis public schools
cory frye, the entertainer | posted: thursday, march 18, 2010 7:30 pm
corvallis - it's been 21 springs since the indigo girls sent a fresh harmonic blast across the music landscape with "closer to fine,"the no.52 single that opened their major-label debut.
but for emily saliers and amy ray,it's but a milepost on an ongoing, rewarding journey.
next tuesday at 7:30 p.m., they bring their invigorating sound to the lasells stewart center on the oregon state university campus,in a heart of oregon music series benefit performance for the corvallis public schools foundation.acoustic duo coyote grace will open. tickets are $33.50 and $44.50, and are available online at www.corvallistheaters.com.
the indigo girls have known each other most of their lives now,long before either considered a career in music,really.
they initially met as schoolchildren in dekalb county,ga.,when saliers was 11 and ray was 10.but it wasn't until adolescence and a stint in the shamrock high school chorus when they discovered what would unite them.
"you know how that is,"ray said in a telephone interview."when you're that young and you find something like music,it changes your whole life.from the time i was 14 or 15,i was very aware that this was the path i wanted to take."
they entered a school talent show with james taylor's "a junkie's lament,"an inspired if daring choice to present in an academic setting."emily ended up not being able to do it,so i did it alone,"ray said,laughing."who knows what they thought?"
the girls expanded their repertoire to include songs by such artists as dan fogelberg,
carole king and others of the folk-pop/singer-songwriter milieu, and began performing in coffeehouses and open-mic showcases wherever they could. eventually,they ventured into songwriting and recording.in 1985,thanks in part to a loan from
ray's father,they issued a single, salier's "crazy game,"and an eponymous ep,back in the indie movement's diy youth,a valuable experience that would pay off later down the road.
with their burgeoning reputation on the live circuit and a self-released full-length album called "strange fire,"released during a period brimming with regional acts like r.e.m.attracting major-label interest,it seemed inevitable that the indigo girls would get swept up, too.in 1987,they were gigging three nights a week at atlanta's little 5 points club,a venue ray recalls as "a meeting place for every walk of life."one night,in walked a rep from epic records,in town to meet with r.e.m.and catch another band,the rave-ups,at a spot down the street.later he returned, this time with his boss,to watch them open for nanci griffith.
"they saw our track record and the groundwork we laid,and they signed us,"ray recalled.
"there'd been no bidding war.no label had been interested in us at all.we were completely set releasing our own stuff and booking our own shows - we did everything ourselves.but we were offered a deal,and it was too good to pass up.i'm still indieminded; it was a little hard,but i don't regret it at all."
the indigo girls released eight studio albums for epic over a 15-year period,beginning with their titular '89 offering,from which sprang "closer to fine."the song exemplifies the pair's tight harmonies, one voice supporting the other.even today it's a crisp and satisfying listen,augmented by streams of vivacious acoustic riffs and the goosebump prick of a mandolin.it's central to a basic formula that remains unchanged - mostly because there's no reason to change it.
"we write our songs,really,in our separate times and spaces," ray said."then,when it comes time to do a record,we send each other demos and pick through them,finding the ones that might work.then we get together a few days a week,go through all the songs and work on the arrangements.
we decide what instruments we're going to play,and then we usually just learn the music, the chord structures,and then start working on the harmonies."
thanks to "fine's"breakthrough and a fan base loyal and true,the duo's every album charted in the top 50,peaking with 1994's "swamp ophelia" (no.9) and its 1997 studio follow-up,"shaming of the sun" (no.7).despite their respectable showing,however,band and label parted ways shortly after "all that we let in"in 2004.
"after our fourth or fifth record,you could feel things shifting," ray said."we stayed around and made our records and toured, and the label became less and less significant.i think we agreed to work together,'but not work together. when the contract came up,we didn't re-sign and neither did they.it was totally fine."
from epic they leapt to hollywood records,attracted to a roster that then included los lobos and
the polyphonic spree.unfortunately - or fortunately,as it turned out - their stay was brief: one release, the mitchell froom-produced "despite our differences" (2006).among its many infectious highlights was the ray-penned
"rock and roll heaven's gate," featuring a defiant turn from upand- comer pink.she was returning a favor after the girls graced her scathing "dear mr.president."
"her voice is quite stunning," ray said of the singer."when she came in to do the vocal,we had to move the mic back about 10 feet.
what the song was about - being sort of about the battle we face as women in this industry,or as any outsider trying to make it in the rock world - she really understands and empathizes with it.i knew her soul would come out strong."
after the indigo girls left hollywood, they went back to what they'd done in the beginning: controlling their own paths as independent artists.ray already had considerable experience to that end,having launched her own label, daemon records,in 1990.under that logo she's released acclaimed efforts by the late utah phillips,john trudell,girlyman and danielle howle.not on the lineup,however: the indigo girls.
"i didn't want to,"ray explained."i felt it would be too weird for emily."
instead,they established the separate ig recordings and issued their first indie album in more than 20 years,"poseidon and the bitter bug,"through the vanguard label in 2009.it's an ambitious two-disc set.the first features the album proper,assembled from froom's studio wizardry.the second's a live acoustic run-through,resequenced for mood and flow.as a result,although both discs contain essentially the same songs, they successfully stand as separate, cohesive documents.
"when we started working with mitchell again,he joked about how the fans didn't like him because he did too much to the songs,"ray said with a laugh."so he said,maybe we should record everything acoustically,too.'we took a long time to figure out if [the second disc] would be a separate release.it was kind of its own project."
the indigo girls have plenty of projects to keep them busy this year.first up is the two-cd "staring down the brilliant dream," chronicling four years of live shows.
for the album art,they've solicited works from friends and photographs from fans.("we're trying to keep that relationship with the fans,"ray explained."they take a lot of pictures,and they're good pictures.") they plan to release it this summer.in may,they travel to nashville to record an americana themed christmas album.
in the meantime,there's always the call of the road,including a summer run on the revived lilith fair,back after a decade's absence.
"we're so excited,"ray said of sarah mclachlan's traveling caravan."
we've needed it.a lot of festivals still don't have the number of women-fronted bands that reflects the percentage of such bands out there.it's going to be cool,like a rolling summer camp." as to their return to the indie life,the indigo girls are loving every minute of it.
"i can't say anything negative about it,"ray said."it's more of a struggle financially,but not enough to make me not want to do it.you're so much more connected to what you're doing when you're not spending the label's money.we feel a lot of freedom to do a lot of things."
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date: tue, 23 mar 2010 10:03:50 +1100
from: sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.com>
subject: [ig-news] amy interview from the modesto bee


hi folks,
here's another slightly late amy interview, this one from the modesto bee.  you can read it online at
http://www.modbee.com/2010/03/18/v-print/1093394/indigo-girls-bring-music-with.html
cheers,
sherlyn
- ---begin forwarded article---
posted on fri, mar. 19, 2010
indigo girls bring music with a message to the state theatre
by lisa millegan
lmillegan@modbee.com
last updated: march 18, 2010 06:59:40 pm
the connection between amy ray and emily saliers of folk duo the indigo girls runs much deeper than a musical partnership.
the women, who are 45 and 46 respectively, went to the same elementary school in decatur, ga., and are friendly with each other's families. ray said she and saliers are like sisters.
"there's a lot of stuff you don't have to talk about because you know each other so well," she said. "at the same time, we live in different towns. we get together to practice and go on tour, but we have different social lives."
the indigo girls are coming to modesto on march 26 for a performance with coyote grace at the state theatre.
the women gained fame in 1989 with their self-titled grammy-winning album featuring the hit "closer to fine."
all in all, they've recorded 10 major label albums, often featuring social and political commentary. they received attention for their 1997 hit, "shame on you," which criticized efforts to stem immigration as racist. their latest release, issued independently in 2009, is "poseidon and the bitter bug."
while they've never hit the top of the pop charts, the indigo girls have performed steadily for two decades. ray said the duo has been able to survive because of its constant touring and devoted fans.
"it's an honest experience," she said when asked why fans are drawn to the music. "it's pretty organic. there's this initial community created around it. they shared music with their friends."
the indigo girls stay connected with their fans via the internet by posting videos and asking for their input. their upcoming double live cd release will include photos taken by fans at different times during the group's career.
the fans promote the music better than any major label ever could, ray said.
"they know how to do retail and radio," she said. "those things are old. there's so many ways artists can support themselves that have nothing to do with the ways a major label understands."
the duo recorded "poseidon and the bitter bug" in three weeks in a studio in atlanta. there isn't any particular theme or focus, ray said.
"we write separately," she said. "we don't keep tabs on what each other's writing."
in a couple of months, they are heading to nashville to record their first christmas cd. ray said they want to make it a mountain music and country record, just for fun.
later this year, ray and saliers perform eight dates with sarah mclaughlin's all-female lilith fair tour, the same tour they performed with in back in the late 1990s. ray recalls that the first tour was a great time for women in music. the featured artists like paula cole, sheryl crow and the dixie chicks were getting a lot of radio airplay.
then came the backlash, with some radio stations saying they wouldn't play lilith fair artists. ray thinks women's music still hasn't come back to receiving the attention it should.
"it's still in a backlash phase," she said. "but it'll come back again.
for more on modesto area arts, visit www.twitter.com/lisamillegan and check out bee scene on video at videos.modbee.com.
this article is protected by copyright and should not be printed or distributed for anything except personal use.
copyright ) 2010, the modesto bee, 1325 h st., modesto, ca 95354
phone: (209) 578-2000.
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date: tue, 23 mar 2010 10:09:01 +1100
from: sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.com>
subject: [ig-news] amy interview from xtra west in vancouver


hey folks,
i just found this - sorry if i've posted it already.  this is from xtra west, the queer street paper in vancouver.  you can read it online at
http://www.xtra.ca/public/vancouver/the_indigo_girls_on_how_they_stay_relevant-8344.aspx
cheers,
sherlyn
- ---begin forwarded article---
the indigo girls on how they stay relevant
music / 'our first generation of fans all have kids now'
andrea warner / vancouver / thursday, march 11, 2010
out in front. "it was scary to be gay - we didn't want that to be our identifier at first," the indigo girls' amy ray (back, with emily saliers) admits. "we had mentors who were women artists and had seen them be so pigeonholed."
their image might be as fashionable as socks and sandals, but the indigo girls' amy ray and emily saliers don't care.
in fact, the lesbian folk-rock duo has made a career ignoring the naysayers and bulldozing the barriers of convention. how else could they have survived more than 20 years in the music industry, navigating a male-dominated, heterosexual hierarchy?
ray admits it hasn't been easy. the indigo girls released their first major label album in 1988 and earned a grammy award in 1990. they continued to generate billboard-charting albums, building a large fan base even before joining the women-only lilith fair festival, which may have marked the height of their popularity.
"i feel like women are still stuck in that cycle where for a while it's really trendy to have more strong women and more women played on the radio, and then there'll be a backlash against it," ray says.
she and saliers agree that rock music is the biggest hurdle for women in music.
"rock is still really male and really white," ray says. "folk music, that's where women are either kind of trendy or they're not.
"when we started, we were coming on the heels of our mentors who had to struggle to have a word in the studio," she continues. "the producer would run things and take the instruments out of the women's hands and put them in some studio guy's hands, and that was the story we were told by our older friends in the corporate major label world. then heart came along, and other groups, that made it obvious that women can do it themselves."
but the indigo girls weren't just women being self-sufficient. they were also lesbians, publicly out in virtually untested waters.
"it was scary to be gay  we didn't want that to be our identifier at first," ray admits. "we had mentors who were women artists and had seen them be so pigeonholed and were so bitter about it. you know, don't just play to a gay audience, it will be your doom.' after our second cd, i started talking more about it in the press, and emily was coming around to talking about it. we definitely came out through a time when fear was a big part of it."
being openly gay allowed the indigo girls to mine a built-in audience, but it's proven to be a double-edged sword. for better or for worse, their music has been described as "political lesbian folk music."
"we might sing to an audience of political lesbians, and we might be political lesbians, but i don't know if you can categorize our music that way," rays says. "i understand why people use that. i think we're still in a queer movement in music where we're trying to be part of an infrastructure where the gatekeepers are still straight white men. but i don't really pay attention to it anymore. in my opinion, it's not really a way to define music.... it's like when they say, that guy plays white hip hop.' you know they don't mean anything good," ray laughs.
"i can see why we're labelled as such," saliers says. "there's not a lot of open-mindedness. once you're gay, you're gay and you're pegged. my first fear was that we would be pigeonholed and we were, but that's just short-mindedness. it's just life. not all of our songs have political content, and they're not all about lesbian reality, though that's the lens with which we view life, obviously. can't get around that."
it's also impossible to ignore the fact that plenty of other rock and pop acts have surpassed the indigo girls in popularity. lady gaga (ray is a huge fan), katy perry and a host of others have recently claimed the spotlight, but neither saliers or ray is concerned about fading into obscurity just yet.
"the proof is in young people experiencing our music in a positive way. if you can speak to young people, then i think your music is still relevant. we've been around so long that our first generation of fans all have kids now, practically, so we get their kids, thank god," saliers laughs.
"amy and i write songs about what's happening in the world, and we're deeply troubled by war and injustice and inspired by nature, and that subject matter will always be relevant. it's a human concern; it doesn't matter if you're a lesbian, an artist or a postal worker."
the recently remounted lilith fair will likely broaden the indigo girls' audience, and the timing couldn't be better. they've recently given the middle finger to conventional record labels, successfully going independent again and reclaiming their roots with their most recent album, poseidon and the bitter bug. their last independent release was 25 years ago.
"it's so liberating," saliers says. "there's nothing a label can do for us that we can't do on our own. we have the same management and the same agent, and we've had the same touring people for a long time, so we can do it ourselves. there's nothing a label does for us except get in our way, slow down the process of getting stuff out and take a chunk of our money."
"we're older, we've been around for a long time, we're queer, we're political, all those things that record labels don't know how to deal with," ray adds. "it's funny. it's like they were better about it in the late 80s, early 90s, dealing with that strident artist personality that's doing something against the grain.
"major labels are for people who can be part of the mainstream and that's fine, but we don't fit in there," ray says. "it feels good to be doing what we want. that's how we started and it's always been where my heart's at."
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end of ig-news-digest v12 #8
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