lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: cold as ice


1986-12-12: local indigo girls create superb album, the atlanta journal constitution:

the producer of the album, frank french, is another home boy most often seen with the group drivin' and cryin'. french does a decent job with the album's mixing, and some extraneous instrumentation, such as the weird clicking percussion on "cold as ice," is easily overlooked.

anyone who's seen the indigo girls' live performances - usually just their superbly melodic voices accompanied by acoustic guitars - will appreciate the added instrumentation and the slick studio sound.

the album provides a good sampling of the distinct styles of the two musicians who've known each other since grade school. amy's rocking "cold as ice" and "land of canaan" maintain the intensity of the live versions - both songs are two audience favorites - although her raspy voice is higher and not so raspy on the vinyl versions.

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1987-12-04: indigo girls: intensity, delicate and honest, the durham morning herald:

live, the indigo girls are even more intense. last sunday night at chapel hill's la terraza, they played two sets, an hour each. they played their own songs, songs by other atlanta writers and better known pieces.

in concert, they were more political. ms. saliers' unreleased "up in smoke" was both a cry of anger ("i've watched my country practice nuclear suicide") and a plea for sanity ("we don't want to go up in smoke"). there were two vibrant songs from the ep, "cold as ice" and "never stop", and a superb cover of bob dylan's "all along the watchtower" that lashed out with a vengeance.

they alternated lead vocals. some of their harmony involves singing slightly out of synch, one voice following a little behind the other, until they meet at the end of a phrase of chorus. they sing with a fury and the guitars are strident, without being harsh. ms. saliers is an accomplished guitarist, pulling out elaborate runs that filled out the compositions.

there were also quiet moments, the highlight an ethereal a cappella rendition of paul simon's "american tune". it capped a fine evening.

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1993-04-16: indigo girls are easy on the ears, the st. louis post-dispatch:

it was a game of "name that tune" wednesday evening at mississippi nights as a capacity crowd of indigo girls fans proved how strong an impact the contemporary folk singers have had on their listeners in just five years.

nearly everything amy ray and emily saliers performed, save for a very early composition called "cold as ice," was immediately recognized by the audience. when i say immediately, i mean after only a few notes.

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2005-05-19: pre-order indigo girls' 'rarities' collection!, epic records e-mail list:

having contributed to a number of tribute albums, film soundtracks and benefits, the grammy-award winning indigo girls will now, for the first time, make available a unique collection of tracks called rarities on june 14th! with selections ranging from never-before-released tracks to hard-to-find covers and collaborations, rarities gives indigo girls' fans a chance to catch up on their extraordinary catalogue of recordings.

some of the previously unreleased tracks include "let me go easy," "winthrop," a demo of "ghost," a remix of "free in you" and "point hope." also included is one of amy ray's first compositions, "cold as ice"; concerning the song's title, she admits, "i always felt bad for using a foreigner title for my song." an ultra-rarity on the collection is an original emily saliers song called "walk your valley," which was recorded only once at a soundcheck. emily notes, "i felt sure no one would have a bootleg copy of this."

the covers include "clampdown" from 1999's burning london - the clash tribute, "i don't wanna talk about it" from the 1993 soundtrack to philadelphia (originally by neil young's backing band, crazy horse, but later popularized by rod stewart), vic chestnut's "free of hope" from 1996's sweet relief ii: gravity of the situation, "uncle john's band" from 1991's deadicated: a tribute to the grateful dead and their cover of ferron's "it won't take long" from 1995's spirit of '73: rock for choice.

collaborations include r.e.m.'s michael stipe on "i'll give you my skin" from 1991's tame yourself, a live performance of "ramblin' round" with ani difranco from the 1996 album 'til we outnumber 'em: woody guthrie and the special tom morello (audioslave, rage against the machine) remix of "shed your skin," a song originally from 1997's shaming of the sun.

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2005-07-15: silver anniversary nears for indigo girls, the eugene register-guard:

actually, ray said in a recent telephone interview, it was epic's idea to end their relationship with a "fun" project.

"they said, 'we would really love for you guys to do a fun project just for the fans. and we were like, 'that's a great idea,' " ray said.

"they thought it would be a good way to wind up things, and we thought the same thing."

"rarities" features a cover of the clash's "clampdown," done originally for a clash tribute album; a version of "shed your skin," remixed by audioslave's tom morello; and a live version of elton john's "mona lisas and mad hatters."

also included are saliers' "walk your valley," which was recorded just once, at a sound check, and "cold as ice," one of ray's earliest songs.

songs such as "cold as ice" are almost archeological, ray said.

"it's embarrassing to put it on the record, but it's just kind of a point of reference of where we came from," she said. "for me, it's not the first thing i'd play for someone if they wanted to hear indigo girls. but it would definitely be something i'd want to know about as a fan.

"it's like, 'well, what was their early, early stuff like and where do they come from and how far have they come?' "

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2005-09-08: famed duo takes different direction on final epic cd, the nashville city paper:

"it was really epic's idea," ray said. "they suggested that we do one last project for the fans, sort of low-key thing to mark the end of our time on the label. they said we could do it any way that we wanted, and we decided to come up with some songs that we either rarely sing or hadn't been released. we also wanted to so some covers because we really enjoy doing that type of thing."

the results present some surprises by the indigo girls. among them is "let me go easy," a beautifully sung, powerful tribute to nilak butler, a longtime friend and environmentalist who died of ovarian cancer.

there's also an updated version of "winthrop," a number originally designed to be released on the 1997 shaming of the sun featuring saliers on piano and vocals, plus "cold as ice" one of the first songs ray ever wrote. there are also covers of "clampdown" by the clash and live versions of elton john's "mona lisas and mad hatters" and woody guthrie's "ramblin' round."

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2020-05-25: indigo girls, frankfrench.com:

i remember one evening in september, i was walking around virginia-highlands with a friend, eating an ice cream cone & looking in shop windows. standing outside the purple parrot, i watched a couple of young women sing & play their acoustic guitars. the sign in the window said "tonight: indigo girls."

a couple of nights later, i was with another friend & we walked into rick's place on st. charles, and i recognized the guitars...it was the indigo girls, again. this time i introduced myself to amy & we talked briefly, until emily came up & said it was time for them to start their set.

that following sunday, i was at a small afternoon party at melanie hammet's apartment, and amy ray walked in. this time we talked for most of the afternoon. we talked about the indigo girls, drivin'n'cryin, dragon path music, "everything looks better in the dark", "the new world", far east futon company, the atlanta music scene & women's place in that scene. then amy asked about me producing an indigo girls record. and that moment sparked the beginning to a very wonderful period in my life. it's like god gave me a new purpose in life, right when i needed it.

i began hanging out with amy & emily, attending their shows, meeting their friends, collecting tapes of rehearsals & shows, getting a concentrated education in the indigo girls. i even quit drivin'n'cryin to focus on the indigo girls.

after spending several months talking, jamming & recording, we narrowed the large collection of songs down to the six that are on this ep. i still have the tapes of the other songs which were not included on this ep, sitting in my tape vault.

as far as my doing any actual playing or singing, i stayed out of the way until amy & emily were solidly on tape. i wanted the focus to be on their two voices & their two guitars. later i added dede on bass guitar & joan white on percussion. after that, i added my parts. so, yes, there were a few overdubs, although they were sparse.

"finlandia" was recorded live, no overdubs. that was accappella: amy, emily, michelle & caroline around a couple of mikes, with a pzm in an open window, capturing the soft sound of a gentle georgia rain.

it was during these sessions that i introduced kristin hall to amy & emily. i met kristin through shawn wilson, the artist for whom i had done the "neon fish" soundtrack. kristin knew i was recording the indigo girls & she really wanted to meet them. so we came up with a plan: i had kristin come over an hour before an indigo girls session, and i showed her how to hit "rewind" on the tape machine. it had an automatic "search" & brake feature, so there was no way she could screw that up. i gave her a chair to sit in, near the machine. i kept the remote near me, just in case of potential accidents. when amy & emily arrived, i introduced them to "my assistant" and they all became friends. kristin was rewarded with a "co-producer" credit. she helped me laugh during that really painful period in my life following my divorce.


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