Catching Up With Amy Ray
By Jerry Portwood
Amy Ray is most known as one-half of the folk-rock duo the Indigo Girls. But in 2001 she released her first solo studio album, Stag, a stinging critique of the male-dominated music industry that included the great “Lucy Stoners” (named for the women’s group who resisted taking their husbands name in marriage) and collaborations with The Butchies and others. This past week, Ray released her fourth solo studio album, Lung of Love, on her Daemon record label. Once again, Amy Ray is letting her punk side dominate and is turning in heartfelt love songs and rockin' anthems. Her single, "Glow," deserves radio airplay—if that sort of thing still existed.
While she was in New York City for a concert at Housing Works, we asked Ray to stop by our studio for an interview and a few acoustic songs. The multifaceted Ray was quick to explain some of the evolution that got her to this point and how working on her solo music, as opposed to the collaboration with Emily Saliers on the Indigo Girls albums, was a way to to get "this other thing out of my system."
"I wasn't sure if it was just a musical identity or if it was a message different from the Indigo Girls," she explained. "When I started I thought of it as a different collaborative experience. I was working with the Butchies. Their life was very queer and underground and informed by the burgeoning transgender movement. I realized that other world was giving me more of an articulation of things that I was feeling inside that I may not have experienced in the Indigo Girl world."
Finally, in contentious election year and when it appears America is entering another time where there will be culture wars on college campuses in Main Streets around the country, Ray offers insight into why we should embrace our differences—even when it's tough.
WATCH: the full Face to Face interview with her here:
WATCH: Amy Ray perform an acoustic version of "Glow":
WATCH: Amy Ray perform her song "I Didn't":
WATCH: Amy Ray play the mandolin and sing her song, "The Rock is My Foundation":