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Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are Indigo Girls. Rolling Stone describes them as the “ideal duet partners. Their voices soar and swoop as one, alternately raucous and soothing. When they sing together, they radiate a sense of shared purpose that adds muscle to their lanky, deeply felt folk-tinged pop songs”. Together they write, arrange, record and perform music which over the course of twenty five years has become a vital part of the lives of their legion of devoted fans around the world, informing and rewarding them day to day.
With twelve original studio albums, three live records, various Greatest Hits compilations, a Rarities and a Christmas record to their credit, the iconic duo continues to challenge itself creatively, over and over again, adding to a body of work that contains such contemporary classic songs as Galileo, Shame on You, Closer To Fine, Kid Fears, Love of Our Lives, Making Promises, Get out the Map, Moment of Forgiveness, Least Complicated and Go. After numerous Grammy nominations and awards and gold and platinum certifications and decades of touring in clubs, arenas and everything in between, Indigo Girls remain active and relevant, always viewing their music as a fresh opportunity for exploration and discovery. “We really work hard to not lean on any tried and true path in making our albums,” says Ray. “So when it comes to writing new songs and working and performing with different musicians, every record and every tour feels like a completely different adventure for us.
Amy and Emily first met as fifth and sixth-graders in Decatur, Georgia and began singing together during high school. Originally billed as Saliers & Ray, the pair adopted the name Indigo Girls during their undergraduate days at Atlanta’s Emory University. The Indigos were attending classes by day and performing as an acoustic duo in local clubs by night when they made their first stab at recording in 1985 with the single Crazy Game / Everybody’s Waiting (for Someone To Come Home) which they issued on their own label, followed by an EP and in 1987, their first full length LP, Strange Fire, produced by John Keane.
In 1988, the big-time beckoned Indigo Girls. Signed to Epic Records and EMI Music, they recorded Indigo Girls with producer Scott Litt at Ocean Way Studios in L.A. With Amy and Emily on vocals and acoustic guitars, Indigo Girls featured contributions from REM, Hothouse Flowers and Luka Bloom. The record was released in 1989 (the Boston Globe stated “The Indigo Girls have simply made the best debut album so far this year”) and the Indigo Girls began criss-crossing the country on tour (a process that has continued without pause throughout their career) headlining or supporting the likes of REM, Neil Young and the Violent Femmes.
Decades into their career, the Indigo Girls still amaze conventional pundits with their ability to grow and thrive no matter what the state of the music industry is at any given point. The duo’s constant touring, as well as staunch dedication to a number of social and environmental causes, has earned them a fervidly devoted following over the years. So many artists who launched their careers in the late 1980s have slipped from our collective memory. In contrast, the Indigo Girls stand tall, having earned the lasting respect and devotion of a multi-generational audience which continues to experience their creative evolution in the studio and on stage. The adventure may take the form of an adrenaline-fueled live CD or a warm reflective holiday album or a collection of songs that can veer from the raucous to intimate in the blink of an eye. No matter where their creative journey takes them, they hold out a hand to their listeners and we get to feel it all.
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