With the recent release of their much-anticipated album, “One Lost Day,” the Indigo Girls are making headlines once again. The musical icons and social activists have been writing, performing and creating music for decades now. The folk-rock duo is on tour promoting the album, released earlier this month.
Emily Saliers and her partner have a daughter, about 15 months old. And Amy Ray and her partner also have a daughter, Ozie. We caught up with Amy Ray to talk about the album, politics and motherhood.
Where does “One Lost Day” take your fans that your last album didn’t?
I’m not sure. I guess it’s up to the person listening to it. It’s so hard, after this many years to answer that question. Well, the producer is new. Some of the players are new. We haven’t made a record in about four years. So you know, it’s a completely different landscape in that way. This record has a different kind of production than we normally have, and we went about it in a different way. There’s some stuff on it that’s really direct and kind of rock and electric and very live. It’s really broad ranged. It’s really musical, but it’s also very organic.
Is there a particular track on the album that holds more significance to you?
They’re all significant to me in one way or another. That wouldn’t be a question I couldn’t answer yet. You know when you’ve just finished a record, you need time to let it just walk around the world a little bit.
We are upon a new election season. Are there any specific issues that you would like to hear more about this election season?
I always would like to hear more about immigration because it’s so important to allow people to come here, become legal, work and make the country a stronger place. I really feel strongly about it. There’s so much nonpartisan support around it but it keeps getting held back.
I would love for the minimum wage to increase on the federal level. I think there needs to be a living wage for people. I couldn’t imagine someone living on minimum wag with kids or even without children.
Both you and Emily have had beautiful daughters since the last album. How has motherhood influenced your songwriting, if at all?
It doesn’t necessarily influence the lyrical content at this point. But I think it influences the process. You have maybe shorter times to write, and you have to learn how to manage your time. Sort of hit it when you can. Sometimes you have to write really quietly, and that sort of affects things in some way. But a lot of the songs I had started even before Ozie was born, and I finished after she was born. I think it’s just your perspective. I think it gives you a little more clarity sometimes. Because you don’t have that much time to get things done, so you just do it.
Spirituality and religion have been a large influence in both you and Emily’s personal lives and in the career of Indigo Girls. Can you talk about your reaction and thoughts on the “religious freedom” bills that have been popping up all over the country, including Georgia?
Yikes! (laughs) The intention of that bill in the 1990s, it’s so ironic because it grew out of this thing to protect Native American ceremonies in some cases and Muslim tradition in another case. Those are things that Emily and I would obviously be in strong support of. But it’s always ironic when a bill is turned around and used in a different way. You could put one piece of language in it and it would change the whole meaning of it.
And I think that this is one of those things, were there’s all of these great progresses made for queers, like marriage equality, but the more conservative party starts reaching for ways to use laws and creatively use pieces of legislation to get on their side. I think that’s one of these cases. It’s like, oh, we can take RFRA, reword it a little bit, and it will be the thing that can protect businesses when they don’t want to serve gay people. It backfired in Indiana and in Georgia; the governor decided it’s not the right time for it. I don’t think people are not going to stop trying to bring up new ways to discriminate though. (laughs)
Who are you listening to these days; any new artists?
I just downloaded this new record by Yelawolf, a hip-hop artist that Emily turned me on to. I’m trying to think about what I’ve been listening to that’s new because what I’ve been listening to is older stuff, like older country music and things that influence good melody writing. I’ve been listening to The Distillers the other day. They’re a punk band that has been around a while.
Also, a band called Against Me. They came out with a record last year that I thought was really good. The lead singer is a transwoman, and she’s really cool. She transitioned as they were making the record. She’s a very powerful performer.
How excited are you to play Chastain Park again?
(Laughs) It depends on what people bring for their picnics. I’m really excited because we’re playing with a band that I adore. Shovels and Rope will be playing with us and they make great music and I’m a big fan. Indigo Girls in concert Friday, June 26 at 8 p.m. Chastain Park www.indigogirls.com chastain.parkamphitheatre.com