Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable
And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear
And I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it
I’m crawling on your shores
Like so many people, I first became aware of the Indigo Girls when they had a hit with a terrific song called “Closer to Fine” in the late ’80’s. The song is an upbeat meditation on the search for meaning. It’s also a pretty good example of their trademark two-guitar sound with close harmony singing.
The “girls” – Amy Ray and Emily Saliers – have been friends apparently ever since high school. When they became popular, they caught the wave of the folk-based female singer/songwriter trend of the time. Interestingly, they tend to write separately and work on arrangements together. Of them, Allmusic says this:
“Saliers, hailing from the more traditional Joni Mitchell school, boasted a gentler sound, was more complex musically, and leaned toward the abstract and spiritual. Meanwhile, Ray drew heavily from the singer/songwriter aspects of punk rock, citing influences such as the Jam, the Pretenders, and Husker Du.”
The guys in this video backing them are from the Irish band, Hothouse Flowers:
Given the nature of the music business, changing tastes and the increasing difficulty of getting played on the radio, it hasn’t been easy for the Indigo Girls to maintain a presence. But through sheer force of talent and a dedicated fan base, they’ve managed to stay together for some thirty years as a duo.
I remember discussing this band with a woman I worked with some years ago. She told me the song “Ghost” was very important and meaningful to her. Until I decided to do this post, I hadn’t thought about it in a while. How much can you love someone?:
And I feel it like a sickness
How this love is killing me
I’d walk into the fingers
Of your fire willingly
And dance the edge of sanity
I’ve never been this close
I’m in love with your ghost
Their web site says: “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.”
Here’s a really nice song called “Three County Highway,” from their 2006 album Despite Our Differences:
They still very much tour and record and now self-produce their own records. (Scarlet Rivera, who played on Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane, ” was part of their original touring band). An excellent group that I don’t spend nearly enough time listening to.