Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

`Indigo Girls': An Act of Faith POP MUSIC

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

`Indigo Girls': An Act of Faith POP MUSIC

Article excerpt

WHEN Emily Saliers and Amy Ray - the Indigo Girls - sing together, listeners get more than heavenly harmonies, memorable melodies, and gritty guitar riffs. They get philosophy, religion, and a kick in the pants.

Enough talking about saving the world, do something, the two command, toppling the stasis of statue-like "Thinkers." In their most recent single, "Hammer and A Nail," the women prod:

Gotta get out of bed,

get a hammer and a nail,

learn how to use my hands.

Not just my head.

...A refuge never grows

from a chin in a hand in a thoughtful pose.

Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose.

At a concert here earlier in their tour, this song and others brought the adoring audience to deafening applause that overwhelmed the two women. Not a flashy act, the two Indigo Girls simply play acoustic guitars, accompanied by a bass player, Sara Lee, who stands alone in the back.

The fans were the most enthusiastic this reviewer has ever seen at a show of this size. Throughout the evening, they sang along with the duo, stood up to cheer between songs, and wouldn't give up until the women came back for two encores.

Ms. Saliers and Ms. Ray write their own lyrics and music, and their repertoire includes a variety of styles - from slow, folk ballads like "Southland in the Springtime" from their latest album, to torrid, scratchy rock songs like "Pushing the Needle Too Far." Ray's voice is raw and throaty, (sometimes resembling Patti Smith's), while Saliers' is sweet and smooth. Ray strums hard while Saliers deftly plucks the lead tune. Ray is the dark woman; Saliers is light. Like yin and yang, the women complement each other in a perfect two-part harmony, never missing a beat, always on pitch, looking as if they enjoy every moment. Between songs they talk and joke with the audience.

They sang tunes from all three of their albums - "Hey, Jesus," and "Land of Canaan," from their first album, ("Strange Fire," 1987), "Closer to Fine," "Prince of Darkness," "Love's Recovery," and "Blood and Fire," from their smash 1988 album, "Indigo Girls," which certified gold (selling more than 500,000 copies) and earned the duo a Grammy for "Best Contemporary Folk Group" in 1989.

From their most recent album, the women sang "Pushing the Needle Too Far," about living too fast in these times; "You and Me and the 10,000 Wars," with its lovely line "A moment of peace is worth every war behind it," and "The Girl with the Weight of the World in Her Hands," about reaching out to people who are lonely. …

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