lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: bus bus

2008-06-04: amy is a ray of light, the windy city times:

with "didn't it feel kinder," ray tones down the aggression evident in her first albums to reveal her more heartwarming, gentle side.

lf: you express some thoughts and imagery about global warming on "bus bus."

ar: yeah, i like to include that in everything. it's a way to mark the passage of time i think. like look how when i was young i wasn't thinking about melting ice caps.


2008-08-01: 'let love abide', southern voice:

with "didn't it feel kinder," ray tones down the aggression evident in her first albums to reveal her more heartwarming, gentle side.

"i wrote 'she's got to be' and 'bus bus' around the same time and realized i wanted to treat these songs different rather than just go rock out," she says. "i really wanted to have a vision, work on the rhythm section and musicality. in earlier records, i was just getting my ideas out and finding my way."

as part of her new vision, ray collaborated with a producer for the first time on her solo work. she says working with greg griffith (the butchies, le tigre) was both challenging and rewarding.

"he is incredibly talented. he wouldn't let me be lazy," ray says. "i think sometimes ... i would settle because i liked the lyrics so much, not stretch it more."


2008-08-06: another side of amy ray, cnn:

the songs on "kinder" include "bus bus," a scorching rocker about the longings felt while on tour; "who sold the gun," which alludes to a mass shooting, counterpointed by rousing major chords; and "slc radio," which praises the support of a salt lake city radio station in the midst of "lds nation."

ray gives a great deal of credit to producer greg griffith for the album's raw sound and melodic ideas, and she adds that the musicians on the solo album helped guide the way the songs were presented.

"something like 'bus bus,' i wanted this lead thing going on with a kind of raucous band, and the harmonies are very important but they are more of a bed that you're singing over rather than the duo," she says. "i think the musicians i play with solo do a certain thing that the musicians we play with with the indigo girls don't do. it's just a different thing. ... and it sort of steers my writing in some ways."


2008-08-xx: kuar public radio, the little rock:

on daemon records: "i decided to take a couple of years, straighten out all the bookkeeping, make sure everything is really solid, the web site, just make sure everything works. i want to do it myself until i understand it.

"then i want to understand what a record label is for anymore. because indie artists, like (daemon artists) girlyman for instance, i kept telling them, 'you guys do not need a label. you can do everything for yourselves. i'm taking money from you that you don't need to give me.'

"there's still a place for someone who's willing to create infrastructure and work the record and do all that so the artist can just tour and do their thing."

on the new album: "it's definitely more diverse than the others. it's got a couple of mellower sort of numbers on it. and one that's kind of more soul, 'she's got to be,' which also probably has some '70s rock influence on it. like 'birds of a feather,' (atlanta band three5human's) tomi martin came in and played guitar on it, and it became an almost built to spill/pink floyd-y kind of song. it was something different before, but i love the way it is now. 'bus bus' is very influenced by modern stuff.


2008-10-27: amy ray struggling as solo act, the youngstown vindicator:

"i [recorded] this record mostly to tape, which gave it a slightly different sound," ray said. "this record is totally different for me. i wrote the songs just over a long period of time, not thinking about any specific theme but knowing that i would be using them for a solo record. so they hung together more on a musical level than on a thematic level."

among her favorite songs on the new 10-track album are the engaging "bus bus" and "birds of a feather." the latter track features a unique guitar approach that ray intended to create a feeling of alienation. however, that's not necessarily the message you get when looking at the cd cover artwork, which depicts two distinctly different looking horses on a meadow.

"i like the long horizon and the two beings," ray said. "horses for me seem like a very emotional presence, and they're really strong. my girlfriend took that picture a long time ago and i kept looking at it thinking that would be a really cool cd cover. and then it happened to match what i was feeling for the cd.

"it's something about the relational space of those two horses. you don't really know what their relationship is and you're trying to figure it out. they seem strong and seem to have a certain empathy to them. and i think that's what the record is about, empathy."


2009-01-22: this girl's gone solo, the riverside press-enterprise:

she said she stretched her vocal work with the album, apparent with a wider range of vocals for ray. she also wasn't afraid to rerecord the vocal tracks.

"i would sing it until i got it exactly the way i liked it," ray said.

the results are heard on the album, with the funky song "bus bus" and the rocker "blame is a killer."

ray is dedicated to writing. she writes for three or four hours each day in her journal from four to five days each week, "wherever i am," she said.

then she'll go through the journal and mark things with post-it notes and play a few things on the guitar.

"sometimes things marry each other," she said.


2009-01-28: amy ray of indigo girls goes solo, the san jose mercury news:

but the 44-year-old singer-guitarist-songwriter has spent much of her 26-plus-year music career downplaying her inner punk rock girl as a member of the popular acoustic duo the indigo girls. it's been as a solo artist that the georgia native has felt more comfortable unleashing her more raucous instincts.

with her fourth and latest solo disc, "didn't it feel kinder," ray straps on her electric guitar on numbers like "bus bus" and "slc radio." while hardly mosh pit anthems, they nonetheless reflect a rock 'n' roll side of her artistry that hasn't found full expression in the folksier indigo girls.

"i was writing songs that didn't really fit into the indigo girls," says ray, explaining the genesis of her solo career. "i started an indie record label when the indigo girls signed to epic records (in the late '80s). i put out records by friends of mine in the underground music community. i got more involved in writing and jamming with these artists. more than anything, (the solo albums) are a result of having these different collaborators."

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