thewashingtonexaminer.com: The Rockin’ side of Amy Ray
original publish date: 12 aug 2009
by nancy dunham, thewashingtonexaminer.com
Just when you think you really know the sound of Amy Ray — half of the Grammy Award-winning duo the Indigo Girls — she comes back around for a solo tour and you realize her music has some facets you hadn’t discovered.
Just off an Indigo Girls tour supporting the duo’s recent release “Poseidon and the Bitter Bug,” Ray has once again headed out on the road to continue to support last year’s release “Didn’t It Feel Kinder.”
“Now that I’ve been playing these songs for a while, it’s not really a matter of rethinking them,” said Ray. “It’s more enjoying them and having fun with the audience.
Although the Indigo Girls have always written, sung and played mainly folk-based music with passion and zeal, Ray’s solo work — as evidenced by the songs on this album — is much harder rocking with a punk edge.
“It is a lot stronger; in my head, my music is rock anyway,” said Ray of the songs on “Didn’t It Feel Kinder.” “When I write for the Indigo Girls I write for more harmony based and a little more pop based than my solo work.”
Although Ray said the other half of the Indigo Girls — Emily Sailers — can play on any songs, the two have a signature sound, which melds their two musical visions into Indigo Girls work. When Ray writes and performs alone, she takes on a different focus.
Some of her musical inspiration is drawn from the work of other artists including Josh Ritter, the Replacements and Patty Smith.
That’s clear on this album. In a world of whispering, incoherent singers, Ray’s music stands out not just for its social commentary — such as “Who Sold the Gun” about the Virginia Tech shootings — but with intelligent lyrics and superb vocals and playing that lure the listener into the electric guitar-led sound.
This time on tour, Ray will be joined by a host of guest artists; the local show will feature an opening show by North Carolina punk musicians Bellafea.
“I love a lot of different kind of music,” said Ray. “I listen to a lot of funky stuff; I often go back to those for inspiration.”