lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: carolina in my mind


1995-09: indigo girls, record collector:

the duo met in 1975 when emily was 11 and moved down from connecticut to georgia. at elementary school, she came across 10-year-old amy, and the pair became close friends, although they didn't begin playing music together until 1981, when they were at high school. initally, they called themselves the b-band ("after something rude"), and their first tape, "tuesday's children", was recorded that year, comprising mainly cover versions, though with an original song from each of them. even at this early stage, when they were in their mid-teens, the girls' intricate acoustic guitarwork, caramel harmonies and poetic songwriting - the prime ingredients of their modern work - were in place.

"i can't think of another group right now that has the same kind of combination," says emily, trying to explain the mercurial blend of voices and personalities. "i'm much more mainstream in sensibility, more pop, not as much edge, roughness and things."

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2001-06-xx: indigo girls bio, vh-1 website:

their first cassette, tuesday's children, mainly consisted of cover versions. they changed their name to indigo girls while at emory university in atlanta. their early releases were on their own label, j. ellis records, named after an english teacher on whom they shared a crush. these commenced with a single, "crazy game", in 1985, followed by an ep the following year, produced by frank french of drivin' and cryin'. an album, strange fire, produced by john keane, featured re-recorded versions of their strongest early songs, "crazy game" and "land of canaan". ray and saliers were then signed to epic records in 1988, and their first release for the label featured, among others, michael stipe of r.e.m. and the irish group hothouse flowers. indigo girls was produced by scott litt, and included saliers' composition "closer to fine", later recorded by the wonderstuff. the duo toured heavily throughout the usa to promote the album, in addition to playing support dates to neil young and r.e.m. indigo girls achieved gold status in september 1989, and the duo won a grammy award as the best contemporary folk group of 1989. strange fire was reissued towards the end of that year, but with an additional track, "get together", made famous by the youngbloods. in addition to playing an aids research benefit in atlanta, georgia, in 1989, the duo were also asked by paul simon to perform at a fund-raising event in 1990 for the children's health fund, a new york-based project founded by the singer. nomads*indians*saints included the excellent emily saliers song "hammer and a nail", which also featured mary-chapin carpenter on backing vocals. litt was once again recalled as producer, with r.e.m.'s peter buck also guesting, but the album lacked something of its predecessors' impact.

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2001-08-03: indigo girls - talent seen once in a blue moon, the easton express-times:

when she was in sixth grade, saliers and her family moved to decatur, ga., and she began attending laurel ridge elementary school, where ray was a fifth grader.

when both were in high school, they started playing music together in preparation for a school talent show, and were soon performing at open-mike nights at local bars, calling themselves either saliers and ray or the b-band.

by 1981, ray and saliers had completed their first basement tape (literally - it was recorded in ray's basement) called "tuesday's children," a collection of cover songs augmented with two original tunes.

ray continued her songwriting and, the following year, she recorded a solo tape of her own material called "color me grey."

after high school, saliers became an english major at tulane university, and the next year, ray headed off to nashville, tenn., to study english and religion at vanderbilt university. but being away from home didn't sit too well with either, and by 1984 both were back in atlanta as students at emory university.

in 1985, again performing together on a regular basis, they decided to go by the name indigo girls. in one of the time-honored traditions of rock, the name held no real significance - ray chose "indigo" from the dictionary because the word sounded cool.

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2005-06-24: indigo girls return home as festival headliner, southern voice:

saliers and ray formed their friendship at laurel ridge elementary school in decatur when ray was in the fifth grade and saliers was in the sixth grade.

in high school, the duo began performing together at local bars and clubs as the "b-band" and also as "saliers and ray." in 1981, the folk duo recorded "tuesday's children," their first tape, recorded in ray's basement.

in 1982, during ray's senior year at shamrock high school, she fell in love for the first time with a woman, but she had no idea that same-sex love was taboo.

"we were inseparable," she recalled. "my mom and teachers asked what was going on and i told them, 'i'm in love with her!' being gay and in the suburbs in decatur back then was a lot harder than today ... i didn't know what being 'gay' meant."

but when she finally came to terms with her sexual orientation, coming out to her family was difficult, she admitted. but her sisters - also lesbians - paved the way for her, and she now holds her parents, family and friends up as a truly supportive circle.

"they're so great now, it's hard to remember how hard it was," she said.

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2019-02-20: amy ray of indigo girls: paying her dues all over again, the missoulian:

ray's origins as a musician trace back to her high school period in atlanta, when she and friend emily saliers, also now 54, formed the duo that would become the indigo girls.

"the music scene in atlanta at the time was tied to clubs and local art papers," said ray. "there was a lot of indie media, indie stores, and stations, and that indie triangle was where i got all my info for bands and clubs. punk bands were big on the scene. the post-punk alternative scene was doing zines and cassette tapes and we'd go out and cut and paste indigo girls posters. it wasn't like inventing the wheel. i was more punk than folk, informed by women mentors who were in alternative bands and punk bands."

in 1981, they released a basement tape titled "tuesday's children," and from there ray's and saliers' talents took them places even they could not have foreseen.

"we started out acoustic, playing clubs. the folk clubs were a little homophobic then, and we were loud. we were rowdy then, though we are tame now. we'd play 'all along the watchtower' plugged into the pa and not the microphone. i was young and in college studying religion and working on an english degree and fixed on getting my substitute teacher's license for income. it was either theology school or teaching in my future. i had an apartment for $350 a month and low expenses. music was fun and we had ambitions. ... short-term, it was to get into clubs, and then to other clubs, and to reach people, and then there were radio stations to crack. ... something fed the tenacity and the need to be relentless to get a gig, and you could get radio play back then, and it all worked if you weren't a jerk about it."


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