newsobserver.com: There’s inspiration in her rural location

original publish date: 14 aug 2009
BY ED CONDRAN, news & observer


[link to source]

photo by matt odom

photo by matt odom

Amy Ray paints a personal picture with every song from her third solo album, “Didn’t It Feel Kinder.” The Indigo Girl crafts tunes that evoke a small-town vibe.

“Locale inspires everything I write,” Ray says during a call from her home in the Northern Georgia foothills.

“I’m a real geographic person. I grew up in suburban Georgia, and 18 years ago I moved out to the country, and I love living in a rural area. I write about my neighbors and how everything feels here.”

Ray, a lesbian in a long-term relationship, also writes effectively about coming out. Such moving and catchy cuts as “Birds of a Feather” and “Cold Shoulder” are inspired by sexual identity.

Unlike some native gay Southerners, Ray didn’t leave for a perhaps more liberal big city life. “I could have done that and moved to New York City but I never wanted to leave the South,” she says. “I grew up with trees and horses, and I’ve always loved it.

“Sure, there are more conservative people in my community than there are in New York, but I’m fine with that. We don’t agree on everything, but we all get along. I hate the bigotry and racism of the South, but I love the legacy of how we fought for civil rights in the South. I believe that everyone in this country should be able to live anywhere. And where I live is just so inspiring. My album is so inspired by this area and my life.”

Ray will showcase cuts from “Kinder” Friday at Cat’s Cradle. “I’m having such fun going out by myself,” she says. “These songs are very much on my mind.”

Ray is laid back, but her life is full. She juggles solo work, her label Daemon Records and the Indigo Girls, so she doesn’t have much time to relax at home.

“It’s better to be busy,” she says. “I have too much going on to take a break.”

Ray plans to tour with her Indigo partner Emily Saliers in the spring. “We’ll go back out on the road,” Ray says. “Then we’ll work on a project. We still love making music together. My list of things to do is endless.”

On that list, too, is adopting children. “I would love to get to work on that in a year or so,” she says. “I have so much to give, and it would just be something else to write about, since I write about what I know.”

~ by Erin on Friday, August 14, 2009.

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