The Indigo Girls are a folk rock duo from Athens, Georgia. They have released eight studio albums and one compilation album since their debut in 1988.
Amy Ray is a singer-songwriter, best known for her work with the Indigo Girls. Her career began in 1983 when she joined the folk group, The Indigo Girls. As of today, she has released 13 solo albums and has collaborated on many others.
The Indigo Girls are one of the most lasting musical groups to come from the late-’80s female singer/songwriter movement, as well as the subsequent Athens, Georgia milieu that gave rise to R.E.M., Love Tractor, and Widespread Panic. Thanks to early successes like “Closer to Fine” from their self-titled Epic record in 1988, the Grammy-winning pair of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers developed a dedicated national fan base. It was the first of six straight gold- and/or platinum-certified albums. On paper, their two-women-with-guitars concept wasn’t groundbreaking, but the mix of two different musical personalities and compositional styles created tension and an intriguing equilibrium. Saliers, a member of the Joni Mitchell school, had a softer sound but a more sophisticated musical style, with metaphysical and mystical lyrics. Ray was strongly influenced by punk rock’s singer/songwriter principles, naming the Jam, the Pretenders, and Hüsker Dü as inspirations for her more direct, sometimes personal style. The Indigo Girls are nearly as well-known for their political and social activism on topics including LGBTQ and Native American rights, environmental protection, and opposition to the death penalty. They developed a fan following throughout the United States, into Canada, and into Europe, with a passionate live performance that deliberately attempted to eliminate boundaries between audience and artist. Later albums, such as Swamp Ophelia, released in 1994 and including the hit song “Least Complicated,” maintained their popularity even as their style evolved to incorporate Americana, rock, and even blues. Budgie, Sara Lee, Gail Ann Dorsey, Brady Blade, Matt Chamberlain, Jane Scarpantoni, and Caroline LaVelle were among the musicians that joined their traveling ensembles to bring their vision to life. Following their departure from Epic, the Indigo Girls released Grammy-nominated Top 50 albums for Hollywood, Vanguard, and IG, including Mitchell Froom’s Despite Our Differences in 2006, Poseidon and the Bitter Bug in 2009, and Beauty Queen Sister in 2011.
Although Amy Ray and Emily Saliers had been playing together since high school under the moniker “the B-Band,” they initially adopted the name Indigo Girls when living in Atlanta in 1985. They released an independent self-titled EP in 1986, followed by the full-length Strange Fire in 1987; however, only 7,000 copies were produced, and little attention was created. Things changed fast in 1988, when Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman, and 10,000 Maniacs became “the next big thing,” and the pair appeared to fit right in. Epic was eager to sign them, as expected.
Indigo Girls, which was released in 1989, had a strong national breakthrough. R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe (“Kid Fears”) provided a guest vocal, and the song “Closer to Fine” was a success at college radio. The record ultimately broke into the Top 30 and won a Grammy for Best Folk Recording that year, owing to its merits. It was certified platinum at the end of 1991. Strange Fire was released in the autumn, with one of the original songs replaced with a cover of “Get Together.” Nomads Indians Saints, the follow-up, didn’t do nearly as well. Despite the fact that it was nominated for a Grammy and ultimately went gold, the content wasn’t quite as good. Back on the Bus, Y’All, a live EP released in 1991 during the women’s reunion, was certified gold and received a Grammy nomination.
The Indigo Girls made a return in the spring of 1992 with Rites of Passage, which debuted at number 22 and went platinum by the end of the year. The album included more variety as well as some of their best tracks to date. Swamp Ophelia was released almost precisely two years later and debuted at number nine on the charts, eventually becoming gold by the end of the year. 1200 Curfews, a double-live album, was released in 1995, while Shaming of the Sun, the long-awaited follow-up to Swamp Ophelia, was published in 1997. Come on Now Social, the duo’s second album, was released two years later.
Become You, released in 2002, was pared down in contrast to the Girls’ more recent work, while All That We Let In, released in 2004, was widely considered as their best album in years. Saliers and Ray’s 20th anniversary as the Indigo Girls, as well as their last release on the Epic roster, was commemorated with a rarities collection the following year. Saliers and Ray secured a five-album contract with Hollywood Records shortly after, but the duo only recorded one album — the Mitchell Froom-produced Despite Our Differences, released in 2006 — before being pulled from the label’s roster. The Indigo Girls went to their website to reassure fans that the band would continue, and Poseidon and the Bitter Bug, released in 2009, was the band’s first independent album in well than 20 years.
The double-disc Staring Down the Brilliant Dream, released in 2010, included live performances from concerts between 2006 and 2009, and the pair finished the year by releasing Holly Happy Days, a holiday-themed bluegrass album. Beauty Queen Sister was released in 2011 and was the Indigo Girls’ 14th studio album and the fourth to be released on their own IG Recordings label for Vanguard Records. It reunited the pair with producer Peter Collins, who had previously worked with them on Rites of Passage and Swamp Ophelia. Ray and Saliers returned to work after a long hiatus, this time with producer Jordan Brooke Hamlin in different Nashville recording facilities. In June of 2015, in the midst of a national tour, One Lost Day was published. Live with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra was published by Rounder in the summer of 2018. Despite the fact that the tape was made at a single performance in Boulder, it marked the conclusion of a 50-city tour in which he was backed by different big ensembles. Sean O’Loughlin and Stephen Barber arranged the 22 songs, which were mixed by Trina Shoemaker.
For Look Long, published on Vanguard in 2020, Indigo Girls reunited with producer John Reynolds, who worked with them on 1999’s Come on Now Social.
The emily saliers net worth is the amount of money that Emily Saliers has made in her career. She has released 11 albums, and sold over 40 million records.
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