View Full Version : New Album Release Indigo Girls - Staring Down The Brilliant Dream

Music Head
29-06-2010, 22:03
released June 29th, 2010


from the album - Watershed


from all music

While they came into prominence as part of the late-'80s folky singer/songwriter revival, the Indigo Girls had staying power where other artists from the same era quickly faded. Their two-women-with-guitars formula may not have seemed very revolutionary on paper, but the combination of two distinct personalities and songwriting styles provided tension and an interesting balance. Emily Saliers, hailing from the more traditional Joni Mitchell school, boasted a gentler sound, was more complex musically, and leaned toward the abstract and spiritual. Meanwhile, Amy Ray drew heavily from the singer/songwriter aspects of punk rock, citing influences such as the Jam, the Pretenders, and Hüsker Dü for her more abrasive and direct approach. Throughout two decades of music, they managed to garner respectable mainstream success and maintain their rabid core following.

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers first took the name Indigo Girls while living in Atlanta in 1985, although they had been performing together since the early '80s, at times under the name "the B-Band." In 1986, they recorded an independent self-titled EP and followed in 1987 with the full-length Strange Fire — only 7,000 copies were pressed, however, and very little interest was generated. Things changed quickly in 1988 when, in the wake of the success of Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman, and 10,000 Maniacs, the duo seemed to fit nicely into "the next big thing." Appropriately, Epic Records was quick to sign them.

Indigo Girls, released in 1989, was an excellent national debut. A guest vocal by R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe ("Kid Fears") gave them initial college radio credibility, and the single "Closer to Fine" was a hit — buoyed by those strengths, the album eventually broke the Top 30 and earned a Grammy for Best Folk Recording that year. By the end of 1991, it achieved platinum sales. Strange Fire was reissued in the fall with a cover of "Get Together," replacing one of the original tracks. The follow-up, 1990's Nomads Indians Saints, didn't fare quite as well. Although it was nominated for a Grammy and eventually reached gold status, the material wasn't nearly as strong. A live EP, Back on the Bus, Y'All, was released in 1991 while the women regrouped; it, too, was certified gold and garnered a Grammy nomination.

In spring of 1992, the Indigo Girls made a comeback with Rites of Passage, which debuted at number 22 and went platinum by the year's end. The album showed an increasing diversity and some of their strongest songs to date. Almost exactly two years later, Swamp Ophelia was released and entered the charts at number nine; it went gold by the end of the year. A double live album, 1200 Curfews, was released in 1995 and the much awaited follow-up to Swamp Ophelia, Shaming of the Sun, followed in 1997. The duo's next effort, Come on Now Social, appeared two years later.

Released in 2002, Become You was stripped down in comparison to the orchestration of the Girls' more recent work, and 2004's All That We Let In was generally regarded as their strongest album in years. A rarities set appeared the following year, marking Saliers and Ray's 20-year anniversary as Indigo Girls, as well as their last release on the Epic roster. Shortly thereafter, Saliers and Ray signed a five-album deal with Hollywood Records, although the songwriters only released one record — the Mitchell Froom-produced Despite Our Differences, issued in 2006 — before Hollywood dropped them from its roster. The Indigo Girls took to their website to assure fans that the band would move onward, and 2009's Poseidon and the Bitter Bug marked their first release as independent artists in 22 years. Released in 2010, the double-disc Staring Down the Brilliant Dream featured live performances drawn from shows the duo did between 2006 and 2009.

album review

Over two decades, the Indigo Girls have built a substantial following, whose core has ridden out the changes in the music industry and in Amy Ray and Emily Saliers' critical and commercial fortunes from Grammy winners to wondering where their next label deal would come from. They've stuck by them through three label changes and recordings that were sometimes of varying quality. Staring Down the Brilliant Dream, a deluxe two-disc, 31-song live set, is for those who stayed. The Indigo Girls' 2009 Vanguard debut, Poseidon and the Bitter Bug, was one of their finest offerings, and one can't help but think that even as they toured to support it they were assembling this one behind the scenes. Co-produced with their soundman Brian Speiser, it's compiled from tours between 2006 and 2009. Their entire discography is represented in one way or another. Along the way, from Seattle to Chicago, from Yountville, CA to Lowell, MA to Knoxville, TN, these performances all have a presence that is immediate, kinetic, and committed. Hundreds of hours of tapes were gone through to find the best performances of these songs, many of which contain guest appearances, such as "Closer to Fine" with guest vocalists Jill Hennessy, Sean and Dominic Kelly, and Georgia rock legend Michelle Malone (Malone also appears on the set closer, a killer reading of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses"). The 2006 band featured all-star drummer Matt Chamberlain as well as Carol Isaacs on keyboards and bassist Clare Kenny. By 2008 it was often down to just Ray and Saliers with Julie Wolf on accordion or some other wonderfully illustrative instrument. What is ever-present here in this impeccably sequenced collection: passion. There isn't one track here that feels as if the Indigo Girls are going through the motions. Check "I Believe in Love," "What Are You Like," "Watershed," "Prince of Darkness," "Fly Away," or the transcendent "Love of Our Lives." Ultimately, it doesn't matter which cut you select or which disc; what makes the Indigo Girls so important to their fans is on display here in spades.

Track Listing

1 Heartache
2 Closer to Fine
3 Go
4 Come on Home
5 Devotion
6 Cold Beer
7 Moment of Forgiveness
8 Fill It Up Again
9 Sugar Tongue
10 Fly Away
11 Ozilline
12 Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
13 Kid Fears
14 Watershed
15 Shame on You
16 Get Out the Map
17 Salty South
18 The Wood Song
19 Three County Highway
20 Digging for Your Dream
21 Rock and Roll Heaven’S Gate
22 I Believe in Love
23 Fugitive
24 Cordova
25 What Are You Like
26 Second Time Around
27 Love of Our Lives
28 Become You
29 Prince of Darkness
30 Tether
31 Wild Horses

10-07-2011, 09:20
Got to get this one! Thx MH