lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: 1 2 3

1990-09-xx: nomads*indians*saints, epic records press release:

"1 2 3" (written by amy ray with the ellen james society): "this was written in sympathy with those people who are drawn to... darker things in their life in order to help them create. it's also in response to the way the media attaches itself to that part of the artist. somebody can become bigger than life in that respect, when it's not really the way they really are at all."


1991-06-07: true blue, the buffalo news:

on the current tour, which follows this week's release of their new live album, "back on the bus, y'all," they're more than just a duo. backing them at various moments will be bassist sara lee, formerly with the b-52's and gang of four, as well as a percussionist and saxophonist. for a couple of numbers the opening band, atlanta's ellen james society (recently applauded at nietzsche's), will back saliers and ray.

" '1-2-3' is going to become the focal point," saliers said by phone from her atlanta home earlier this week, referring to a song from their last album. "we felt that it didn't get the attention it deserved. we did the live album because we wanted to get '1-2-3' heard like it should be heard. the show is really mixed, but the two of us are still the centerpiece and now it has some extra textures which we like."


1991-02-04: indigo girls' traditional folk still fresh, the minneapolis st. paul star-tribune:

the show's highlight was a rendition of the jazzy blues tune "crazy game" from their self-produced debut album "strange fire," which was rereleased in late 1989. the number, written by saliers, displayed the versatility of ray's husky voice better than many of ray's own songs, which she often sings with more force than feeling. saxophonist barbara marino, who also accompanied the ellen james society, was a perfect addition to the arrangement, adding a touching alto sax solo that enhanced the melody, but never strayed from the tune's natural mood.

the tide shifted when the backdrop rose to reveal the ellen james society, who joined in on "tried to be true" and "1-2-3," a song they cowrote with ray for the indigo girls' new album. four guitars may have been excessive, but it was amusing to see the folk duo blast off into sonic territory for a few moments.

eventually the stage was cleared of all but saliers and ray for their finale, the modern manifesto "closer to fine." they left to a standing ovation, then returned with a surprising choice, "summertime," with ray on lead vocals, and saliers, lee and marino re-creating the cool groove of "crazy game." all the musicians returned to sing along on the 1969 hit "get together," with a peace symbol projected behind them. finally, saliers and ray returned for a version of james taylor's song of a traveling musician, "daddy's all gone."


1991-06-27: indigo girls combine lyrics and music in inspiring form, the deseret news:

first saliers took the lead vocals with ray providing mesmerizing harmonies. then it was ray's turn to lead with saliers backing her up. and it was back and forth all night as each displayed her individual songwriting skills, which are among the best in the business today.

high points included ray's "world falls" with its haunting chants of "dreams of immortality," the sheer poetic beauty of "love's recovery" and the passionate intensity of "pushing the needle too far."

but the crowd's most spirited response was to favorites like "land of canaan," "tried to be true," "1-2-3," "kid fears" and, of course, "closer to fine."

those are unquestionably catchy tunes. but the beauty of their art is more often found in the dark poetry of songs like "the girl with the weight of the world in her hands" and "welcome me."

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