lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: the rock is my foundation

2012-01-17: indigo girl focuses on 'power of ... mystery' in solo career, red and black

"i was just playing my mandolin and it was actually started out more humorous in some way - thinking of a rock band that was made up of the trinity," she said. "i was working on country writing and how you use play on words and that kind of thing. it became a sort of serious song, just using that idea of the tradition of the trinity and that being your stability almost and your hope."


2015-02-27: amy ray of indigo girls, song facts:

songfacts: a couple of the songs are really like gospel tunes. we started out by talking about how maybe the songs you write that are country are a little bit different than songs that you write for the indigo girls. when you wrote songs like "let the spirit" and "the gig that matters," did you feel like they would be great for a country album?

amy: yeah, because when i think of country, i also think of gospel and mountain music, like the carter family. and it's all together for me in the same... not genre - it's like different aspects of what i like about country music, and gospel is one of them.

i had written another song that was on an earlier record called "the rock is my foundation" that was definitely gospel and probably would have fit on this record even better than it fit on the record it was on. but i just couldn't wait to record it, so i went ahead and put it on this other record.

i knew i was writing songs like that, but the production of it really appealed to me, so i thought of it as a model in some ways for the next record.

songfacts: "the gig that matters" sounds to me like it's a song about heaven.

amy: it is, yeah.

songfacts: and i don't want to get too deeply theological, but do you believe that there is a heaven after we die?

amy: i think there's something. i'm not sure what it is. we might just become part of the ether-sphere, you know. but i think that i used that metaphor because i was raised in the south as a methodist, and i was pretty steeped in religion. i went to church about three days a week until i was 16, so you can't really shake that, you know?

but there's metaphors and stories and ways of talking about trials and tribulations, and what saves you, and redemption, and the things that are important in life. they're in this model of a cosmos that i can't really shake, that's just part of my culture and part of my language.

so i'm sort of like a pagan who has a relationship with jesus in some ways. and i love the traditional gospel songs. i love mountain music and i love the imagery of heaven, and jesus, and st. peter, and all the things i was raised with - the fire and brimstone, and just everything. all that is so rich to me. i also love buddhism, but i wasn't raised a buddhist, so i don't have all the metaphors at my fingertips.

songfacts: so you can't write a buddhist song very well, because you just don't know it.

amy: it wouldn't do the same thing for me. these gospel-type songs, they just come out of me - it's not something i work on that hard. these are the ones that come out of me the most natural of everything that i write, which is funny because i'm so radical left-wing to the tradition that it comes out of. but that's just the way it is, and i guess i'll have to live with it.

but i like gospel music a lot. and i love black gospel, especially.

songfacts: have you heard the song that steve martin does about the gospel song for atheists to sing?

amy: no, i need to hear that. is it with steep canyon rangers?

songfacts: it is.

amy: i'll have to look it up.

songfacts: it talks about how the christians have their gospel songs and all these great things they can sing about, but there's not really anything for atheists.

amy: that's hilarious. that's very funny.

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