abcnews.com: Amy Ray Unveils ‘One Voice’ Project
When Amy Ray, half of the alterna-folk group Indigo Girls, decided to record her solo album, Stag, without her longtime partner, Emily Saliers, she quickly learned how difficult it could be making the switch from “we” to “me.”
“At first it was weird,” Ray says of wading into creative waters without Saliers by her side. “I [wanted] to call Emily and ask her what she thinks of this [song]!”
Ray knew what would happen, however, if she did invite Saliers into the studio.
“I thought, if I ask her to play, I’m so used to working with her that it’ll turn into an Indigo Girls song,” Amy recalls. “I decided if I do that, it’s not going to be a solo project.”
Fans who have followed the Indigo Girls since the mid-’80s know that part of the band’s magic comes from the way Ray’s hard-driving edge pushes against Saliers’ lilting acoustic leanings. Considering this disparity in their individual styles, it’s surprising that neither of them released a solo project sooner.
“I wish I would’ve done it a lot longer ago,” Ray laughs. “It takes me a long time to do things! But it was time to challenge myself.”
She got the urge to do Stag when she realized the tunes she was writing felt more like “one voice” songs.
“I kept being frustrated with having all these songs that I couldn’t see as being duo kind of songs,” she recalls. “I just started putting them in this other little basket, [thinking], ‘Oh, at some point I’ll just release something on my own.’ Finally I got serious and started planning it.”
Time off between Indigo Girls albums and tours allowed Ray to assemble songs and artists whose talents she felt would best interpret her musical vision. Joan Jett, former Luscious Jackson drummer Kate Schellenbach, and The Butchies were all on her wish list.
“The whole point, when I picked all of these bands, was that I’m a real fan of all these people,” she says of her choices.
The admiration, not surprisingly, is mutual.
“We love her, we love her music,” says Butchies guitarist Kaia Wilson, who adds that being asked was a surprising honor. “It was a moment in our musicianship where we realized that we’d gotten to a place where someone who we hold in high esteem, a musician such as Amy Ray, would want to work with us on her record.”
The Butchies will be going on the road with Ray, serving as both backup band and opening act on Stag’s short national tour.
After her tour, Ray promises an Indigo Girls release that will “get back to their roots” as folk artists.
“I hope there’s no one that’s going to feel put off by [Stag],” Ray says.
“People who haven’t heard us since ‘Closer to Fine’ will probably be surprised,” she concludes. “But people who have really followed our career are not going to be shocked, I think they’ll be like, ‘There goes Amy again.'”