lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: jonas and ezekial


1992-05: rites of passage, epic records press release:

song called 'jonas and ezekiel' begins with a few seconds of eerie ambient sound. "that's cooper seay of the ellen james society, playing a backwards guitar track," explains the indigos' amy ray, "and me, taking off my watch and putting it on the music stand before i started singing. they're almost accidental sounds, and that's the kind of thing that makes this album something different for us. i've always wanted to do stuff like that on a records, but we never had time to experiment in the studio that way before."

"we played dartmouth college and met some real free thinkers up there. i took a long bike ride on highway 5, on the border of new hampshire and vermont, and this song uses references from that and from earlier road trips - things i heard in conversation, things from the news. i went back to the hotel and wrote down the whole thing in one shot. it's a political song about people who put their faith in prophesy, who're walking toward disaster instead of doing anything about it. sure, i believe in fate, but you can take a lot of different paths in this life and your actions do have consequences."

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1992-06-07: indigo girls bring literature to songwriting, the st. louis post-dispatch:

q: some of the ideas i've encountered on earlier indigo girls albums - ideas about religion, for instance - seem to emerge more forcefully on "rites of passage." one song, "jonas & ezekiel," deals with native american land rights and questions the way some people hide behind apocalyptic old testament prophecies as an excuse for not acting to correct today's injustices. was there something different in your approach to lyric writing for this album?

a: it was a special time. we were reading a lot and experiencing a lot on the road. i think that the channels were more open, probably, to whatever puts lyrics into my head, because i think these lyrics are actually more mature.

i've always wanted to write songs that were more topical, but i never want to force anything. things come as they come. i just had some really good inspirations for this record.

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1992-07-10: songbirds, the charlotte observer:

added to that was saliers' anxiety over her songwriting for the new record. "it's important for our fans to like our record. i felt real insecure about my songs at first because i wrote them so fast. i can't really write on the road like amy can. we finished touring in july, so i had july to november to write.

"i feel more pressure than amy does to write. amy's songs are much more stream-of-consciousness - and i love that. i'm more self-critical. i write a line and then say, that doesn't sound good.' "

"jonas and ezekial," for example, is a song ray wrote after a performance at dartmouth college. she took a long bike ride on a new hampshire-vermont border highway, then went back to her hotel and wrote the song in one shot.

the song opens, "i left my anger in a river running highway 5, new hampshire, vermont border by college farms, hubcaps, and falling rock, voices in the woods and the mountaintops."

and "chickenman" is ray's song about a man she met in his junkyard, off the texas highway between houston and austin.

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emily saliers quote from 1994-03: the indigo girls: the musical ties that bind, performing songwriter:

"the mystical power she gets in some of her songs like 'jonas and ezekial,' where you almost know what she's talking about but you're not sure. those songs stay with you a long time because you can't figure them out. that's the great power of amy's songwriting, that mystery. i take so much pleasure in her songs."


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