Monday Muse: The Indigo Girls: Part the Second
So why am I a ginormous Indigo Girls fan? Why am I one of those people in the crowd who knows the song they are playing by the end of the first chord? That still freaks out the girl a little bit. I guess it starts way back in the 90’s when I heard this song on 97X (BAM! the future of Rock and Roll)
First and aside about WOXY, modern rock, and the misunderstood term “alternative” music. A few years ago on A Prairie Home Companion, host Garrison Keillor, after a performance by Wilco asked (I’m paraphrasing from memory) something to the effect of; “They call you guys alternative, but ‘alternative’ to what? That just sounded good!”. Here Keillor makes the mistake a lot of folks make in trying to use “alternative” to define a sound or style of music. What alternative means to me is not a style of music, but instead a style of music programming. What made WOXY “alternative” was not that they played a bunch of music that fit a certain style or genre, but that they eschewed genre almost altogether and just programmed music that “just sounded good” to their dj’s and their listeners. And they were unafraid to mix things up. So you could hear Tori Amos, the Nine Inch Nails, REM, The Throwing Muses, classic Ramones, and then an Indigo Girls tune back to back to back. Which is how I got clued in to this duo from Georgia singing about an Italian astronomer.
Back to the tunes…
It didn’t start out as fanaticism like my Over the Rhine fandom, it was something that grew slowly, building purchase by purchase, release after release. The Indigo Girls became the comforting voice that filled the cold and scary times of my life with warmth, intelligence and passion. By the time their excellent double live album “1200 Curfews” was released I was a dedicated fan. It was to see the Girls live for the first time that I went to the first Lilith Fair tour at Riverbend. This is what they opened with and it still blows me away.
That’s actually from the current tour. The young men forming much of the band are the Shadowboxers , who are just adorable, even though their sound isn’t quite up my alley they are damn talented and I expect them to grow into something pretty cool.
I could go on and on and on talking about the Girls activism for LGBT rights, Amy Ray’s solo albums, their support for independent artists, the way that consistently prove to be very cool people as well as accomplished artists, but that’s what wikipedia articles are for. I’ll end for now by saying that I have more to say about my favorite band, but 500 words at a time is all my brain will bang out right now. More to come in future installments. Seriously, I might end up going album by album at some point.
PS: There, I wrote a blog post… can I go back to blowing up large sections of Pandora now?