ShareThis Page
Home

Amy Ray of Indigo Girls does own thing in solo tour

| Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008

With the Indigo Girls, Amy Ray is used to performing in front of thousands at mid-size venues.

But on her current solo tour, the dynamics are vastly different.

"At some shows, there's only a 100 people," she says in advance of her show Saturday at Mr. Smalls Funhouse Theatre in Millvale, adding that she does draw as many as 500 at some locales. "A lot of the clubs are the same ones we played when we were first starting out. It's like, 'I'm in this dressing room again.'"

But the size of the audience doesn't matter; getting to perform songs from her new album, "Don't It Feel Kinder," does. And for those who only know Ray via her collaboration with Emily Saliers, there are surprises. The solo release finds Ray plumbing a sound that first came to prominence in the early 1980s via the Clash, the Pretenders and Elvis Costello.

Ray acknowledges that some Indigo Girls followers already have weighed in on the angular, guitar-driven album.

"Some of them like it, and some of them don't, and that's fine with me," she says.

Ray credits producer Greg Griffith for helping shape the tenor of the record, which is the polar opposite of the harmony-laden folk of her regular gig.

"The Indigo Girls has a certain magical quality," Ray says. "It's otherworldly, is what it is. It's all about duality, and with Emily you always hear the other voice."

Which is almost the opposite of Ray's almost militant individualism on "Don't It Feel Kinder." She admits that making the record was a release from some of the conventions that inform the Indigo Girls' work. Take "Blame Is a Killer," which sounds as if the band X invited Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones to a session at the Whiskey A-Go Go in Los Angeles. Or the trippy opener, "Birds of a Feather," a song that Ray admits was "musically, a big question mark" until guitarist Tomi Martin found the right tone.

"He is a really masterful player," says Ray, noting she "didn't even know what he was thinking about when we gave him the song. But what he came up with was all about the song, very Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix."

Another song, the wiry, mesmerizing "SLC Radio," is a nod to Elvis Costello's "Radio Radio" and KCRL-FM, an independent station in Salt Lake City.

"It's a really cool community station that has a different sort of playlist in a very fundamentalist community," Ray says. "When I've played there as a solo artist, they've been very supportive."

And support is something that Ray finds everywhere she goes, whether in the Indigo Girls or as a solo performer. She's especially heartened that her new material is so appreciated, even if the numbers are diminished.

"It's a great live experience, and it's very merge with the audience and the band," she says. "It's sort of a community speaking in tongues."

Additional Information:

Amy Ray

When : 8 p.m. Saturday

Admission : $15

Where : Mr. Smalls Funhouse Theatre, Millvale

Details : 412-821-4447

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me