lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: slc radio


2008-08-03: indigo girl loves salt lake's 'vibrant scene', the deseret news:

she and emily saliers, who are collectively known as the indigo girls, love to play here because of the scenery and the people.

"utah is a unique place because of the dynamics of having the dominant religion and political views and then having this vibrant scene that is the polar opposite," ray said in an interview from an indigo girls stop in new york.

"people don't know that under the surface of what is stereotypically known as utah, there are a lot of people who are changing the narrow focus that a lot of utahns are accused of having."

that's why on her third solo album, "didn't it feel kinder," she has a song called "slc radio." the cd will be released tuesday.

"i remember when i was on tour in support of my second solo cd, 'prom,' in 2005," said ray. "i was playing at the (now defunct) lo-fi cafe in salt lake city. krcl radio was there, and there was this energy coming from the audience. it was a positive vibe that i thrived on, and while i've played in salt lake many times, it hit me that there are some great things happening in that place.

"with all the political views that run the gamut, i look at salt lake city as a microcosm of the united states," she said. "look at the political debates that are nationwide. and you can see those happening very strongly in salt lake city.

"so i wrote a song called 'slc radio' about what i felt."

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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."

a number of the solo songs do share the same activist outlook as ray's songs with the indigo girls. "slc radio," for example, is about krcl-fm, which ray describes as "a really progressive community station." in the song, ray, an out lesbian, sings "radio radio slc fighting the good fight for me/ boys and girls lend a hand, bend an ear in god's land."

"i was thinking about community radio in general, and i was thinking about mormonism and the fabric of the country and how much you see when you're traveling ... and the idea that change comes, but it comes slow, and it comes one person at a time," she explains.

but, she notes, "the song is not totally taking mormonism to task. i even say, 'i'm sending love to all the mormons,' 'keep the good things throw out the bad.' " respect flows both ways, she says.

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2008-11-14: amy ray: the new gay interview, the new gay:

tng coach: how's the tour going? you guys were in new york last night-did you catch any of the protest, or were you working during that?

amy ray: it's going great. yeah, we were working, but we had some people that'd come from there, so a lot of excitement.

tng: it's kind of interesting, because you have that song "slc radio" on this album . . .

ar: [laughs] i know! awww, i didn't know this was gonna happen.

tng: so, are you still (as the song goes), "sending love to all the mormons"?

ar: yeah, i am. i believe in that. i think you have to just love 'em to death. yeah, kill 'em with kindness. i think the point of that song, as far as the mormons go, is that you have, as in any religion, you have good things about what you do, and you have a base of goodness in some of what you do, and then you have a lot of bad stuff, and that's the stuff you need to get rid of. you know, so i'm just kinda saying that there's nothing wrong with changing your ways.

tng: in a way, the whole thing's been kind of galvanizing for the queer community . . .

ar: yeah, yeah. i mean, hopefully, it's galvanizing for everyone-allies and such. it's fascinating that that church actually got away with funneling so much money into that, with all the laws and stuff, separation of church and state, it'll be interesting to see how that pans out.

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2009-02-05: ray serves as a ray of light for salt lake's krcl, the salt lake tribune:

amy ray of the indigo girls will be performing this week in the salt lake city area. one person who already has tickets for amy ray's show friday is troy williams, producer of local radio station krcl's radioactive show. "imagine your favorite band writing a song about [krcl's] work," williams said.

that's exactly what ray, one-half of the influential folk duo indigo girls, did on her fourth solo album, "didn't it feel kinder," released last august. in "slc radio," ray sings, "i'm pulling in to the lds nation looking for a community station / 'cause i've heard about the kids in salt lake city / and how they fight to be set free and how they fight / for you and me radio community."

"[krcl is] the epitome of what community radio is and should be," ray said in a tribune interview. she wrote the song after a visit to the krcl studios in may 2005, saying she was inspired by the station's activism, independence and enthusiasm.

the inspiration, apparently, was reciprocal. ray and the indigo girls were a ray of light for williams in the 1980s, he said. "the indigo girls were one of the pivotal acts that made me not feel like a freak," said williams, who formerly hosted krcl's "now queer this" program. once he became involved in radio, one of his goals --- now accomplished -- was to cultivate a relationship with ray.

"[salt lake city] does have a progressive community," said ray, 44, a georgia native. "we should use the mormons as a way of understanding each other. there are good things that come out of [the mormon faith], if it wasn't for the prejudices."

prejudice, to ray, was symbolized by the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints' support of prop. 8 in california, the successful state initiative that banned legal status for same-sex marriages. "it's just wrong," she said of the church's actions. "the lds shouldn't be involved in that. i thought it was a stupid way to spend your money."

ray hasn't come to utah to preach, but instead will be playing harder-edged rock songs from her solo work. she doesn't see her new songs as indigo girls songs, determined sometimes by subject matter, and sometimes when she doesn't hear her bandmate emily saliers' "voice."

ray is especially excited about her opening act, an experimental rock band called arizona, which caught her attention when one of the band members was an intern at her record label. she invited the band to play on ray's album, and said she'll join them onstage.

"there is cross-pollination between the sets," said ben wigler, arizona's lead singer. he said he owes much of his career to ray, because the band's first out-of-state gigs were opening for the indigo girls in 2006. "she's angelic," wigler said.

some in salt lake city might disagree with him. but that's ok with ray.


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