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Fall Preview: Melissa, Madonna, Morrissey and more

Fall music preview

Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge, Rufus Wainwright, Morrissey — Atlanta’s fall music line-up features some of the best known openly LGBT musicians, then sets gay fans swooning with a visit from the Material Girl herself, Madonna.

It’s technically the end of the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s summer concert series, but Indigo Girls’ Sept. 14 show could also be considered the start of a banner fall music season. Tickets also go on sale Sept. 21 for the beloved lesbian duo’s Dec. 7 show with the Georgia Symphony at Cobb Energy Centre.

Indigo Girls are just one of the acts to grow out of Atlanta’s famed acoustic music scene, which remains immensely popular with LGBT fans. The scene was rocked earlier this year by the unhappy split between famed Decatur acoustic venue Eddie’s Attic and founder Eddie Owen, but this season’s music line-up shows fans may actually benefit.

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Amy Ray to headline Atlanta Pride


Amy Ray, known for her rocking solo shows and as half of the beloved Atlanta folk duo Indigo Girls, will headline the Sunday stage at Atlanta Pride, organizers announced today.

The annual festival is set for Oct. 13-14 in Piedmont Park. Pride officials had already announced that Andy Bell of Erasure would headline Saturday's entertainment.

Ray's performance is set for Sunday evening, immediately before the Starlight Cabaret drag extravaganza closes out the festival.

“We are thrilled to announce Amy Ray as our Sunday headliner!” said Glen Paul Freedman, Atlanta Pride board chair, in a press release announcing the show. “The 2012 line-up is shaping up to be a great one and with the addition of Amy Ray, our festival goers are sure to be entertained.”

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[Video] Amy Ray shares her ‘Lung of Love’

Amy Ray

Fans of acoustic music have a big week coming up as three talented lesbian singer-songwriters play Atlanta shows in seven days. ans of acoustic music have a big week coming up as three talented lesbian singer-songwriters play Atlanta shows in seven days.Fans of acoustic music have a big week coming up as three talented lesbian singer-songwriters play Atlanta shows in seven days. The tunes get started with a solo show by Amy Ray on March 10, followed by concerts by gritty singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier on March 16 and eclectic performer Bitch on March 17.

Ray and musical partner Emily Saliers have led the way for acoustic musicians for more than two decades as Indigo Girls, the beloved Atlanta-based lesbian folk-rock duo. Ray has also released solo albums since 2000, allowing her to explore a more raw, more eclectic style.

“Lung of Love,” her sixth solo effort, dropped Feb. 28, backed by a tour that has Ray playing small venues around the country. She plays Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse on March 10.

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Amy Ray on new Indigo Girls album, activism and her celebrity crush

Indigo Girls

Daughters of Atlanta, pioneers in music and activists on a variety of social issues, the Indigo Girls have done their city proud. With the upcoming release of “Beauty Queen Sister,” the duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers is about to hit the road, including a benefit show in Atlanta for Party at Ponce on Oct. 1 and a tour stop at the Classic Center in Athens, Ga., on Oct. 6.

The first single from the new album, “Making Promises,” is already winning praise as a download and an official lyric video on YouTube. We caught up with Amy Ray to talk about the music, the activism and their hometown.

Shannon Hames: Your fans really respond to your acoustic shows and recordings. Why do the fans feel so strongly about your live performances?

Amy Ray: I don’t know. I hope it’s not because we haven’t captured what we do live on our records. When you do a lot of harmonies, there’s something about the way that happens live – you’re just riveted. A live harmony has a certain effect on people. People like to sing along. Folk music lends itself a lot to a live setting.

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LGBT activists speak out against passage of controversial Georgia immigration bill

Conflicting reports on whether or not Gov. Nathan Deal will sign into law the controversial immigration bill passed the General Assembly late into the last day of the session on Thursday are now being reported.

Maria Saporta in a story posted this morning stated Deal was undecided and quoted the governor saying  “that the bill was so jumbled at the end as to what was added and what was taken out. We are going to look at it very carefully.”

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, however, is reporting that Deal said he is ready to sign HB 87 into law.

He also told the AJC he wanted to review the bill, adding, "but at least the broad parameters of what we know are there appear to be consistent with what we would be agreeable to."

"I have no reason to think I would find something there that would cause me to change my mind," he said. "It is the kind of legislation I promised on the campaign, and the General Assembly has delivered it and I intend to sign it," Deal told the AJC.

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LGBT Georgians join rally against immigration bills

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls at the Rally for Truth

State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta), the second openly gay person elected to the Georgia legislature, spoke at today's "Rally for Truth" at the state Capitol and urged lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to join the fight against immigration bills HB 87 and SB 40.

"I am one of two out lesbians who serve in the state House. I stand here today in total solidarity with you," Bell said to a crowd of thousands who oppose the immigration bills because activists say they encourage racial profiling and divide families.

"If the state of Georgia can do this to our Latino brothers and sisters you know they will do the same thing to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," Bell added. "I had the opportunity to vote no on HB 87. I really feel like immigration is an issue that is important to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. I think every law that takes place under the Gold Dome is important to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and I hope my community will come out and support us," said Bell, who is also the first out African-American lesbian elected to any state legislature in the country.

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Indigo Girls to appear at ‘Rally for Truth’ at Georgia Capitol

Atlanta’s own Indigo Girls will perform and speak at the “Rally for Truth” this Thursday, March 24, beginning at 10 a.m. at the state Capitol. The rally is being held in opposition to immigration bills being considered by the Georgia legislature.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists are also becoming involved in the fight against the immigration laws, stating LGBT people could be caught in the "crosshairs" of the proposed laws.

Jerry Gonzalez, the openly gay executive director for the Georgia Association of  Latino Elected Officials, said the immigration laws, which some are calling Arizona “copycat” laws, are harmful to people as well as to the state’s economy and he is asking “fellow Georgians [to] take a stand against the fiscally irresponsible and economically unsound legislative initiatives which mirror the Arizona legislative initiative that cause serious division and economic peril in Arizona.

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Holiday CDs from campy to classic

The Indigo Girls release holiday album

The B-52s never put out a holiday record and that’s a shame. But fear not, out B-52s front man Fred Schneider has teamed up with Noah Brodie and Dan Marshall to form The Superions and release “Destination... Christmas!” (Fanatic). Even without Kate Pierson or Cindy Wilson, “Destination…Christmas!” sounds like it could be a lost B-52s record, in (Christmas) spirit, at least.

The 11 new songs, with titles such as “Christmas Conga (Jungle Bells),” “Crummy Christmas Tree,” “Jingle Those Bells,” “Laughter At Christmas” and “Christmas Tears,” have the kind of kooky lyrics we’ve come to expect from Schneider. There are also plenty of opportunities for dancing on “Santa’s Disco” (as you might have guessed), “Fruitcake,” “Santa Je T’aime” and the Cerrone-like “Teddy and Betty Yeti.”

Schneider isn’t the only out Georgia musician making the most of the holiday season. Amy Ray and Emily Sailers of Indigo Girls wrap up a dozen songs on their first holiday disc “Holly Happy Days” (IG Recordings/ Vanguard). Originals such as the bouncy banjo number “The Wonder Song,” the yearning “Mistletoe,” and the inclusive “Your Holiday Song” are welcome additions to the Christmas music songbook.