Long-lasting folk rock duo Indigo Girls still keeps it fresh
Indigo Girls — Emily Saliers and Amy Ray — began with the simple formula of two guitars and two voices. The folk rock duo gradually added percussion and other elements without ever abandoning the music’s organic feel.
“People know our music, and they hook into that identifiable essence of Indigo Girls songs,” Saliers said in a phone interview. “There’s a song of mine on our new album, a pop song, that has this synthesizer arpeggiator motif — electronic sounds we haven’t used before. And another song has a horn section. But you can still find those roots.”
The new disc, “One Lost Day,” came out in June. Expect to hear some of the songs, and expect them to showcase the harmonies and intricate vocal arrangements that have been Indigo Girls’ trademark for more than a quarter-century, on their current tour.
Saliers and Ray — childhood friends from Decatur, Ga. — have been playing music together since middle school. They released their first Indigo Girls album in 1987 and quickly developed a loyal fan base that remains passionately devoted.
Though their signature song “Closer to Fine” remains instantly recognizable, Indigo Girls have never had a Top 40 hit. They do, however, remain a constant and popular touring presence.
Much has changed over the years for Saliers and Ray, age 52 and 51, respectively. Perhaps the biggest change is that each recently became a mother; Saliers’ daughter is named Cleo, and Ray’s daughter is Ozilline.
They still live close to each other in Georgia — Saliers said she loves when they are able to get their daughters together to see each other. But, as always, they write separately and will frequently go extended periods without seeing each other if they are not recording or preparing a tour.
Ray, whose songwriting and vocal style has a distinctively punk and indie rock influence, has released five solo albums on her Daemon Records label. Saliers, a pure pop stylist, will release her first solo album later this year.
“The stuff that we do separately from each other is healthy,” Saliers said. “Because we are so different, in our personalities and our sensibilities, we each recognize that what the other brings to the group makes them more interesting. It’s the yin and yang, and that mysterious balance works with us.”