After 20 Years, The Indigo Girls Go Indie

Indigo Girls i

Emily Saliers (left) and Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls. Matt Odom hide caption

itoggle caption Matt Odom
Indigo Girls

Emily Saliers (left) and Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls.

Matt Odom

It's been 20 years since their first hit recording, and the Indigo Girls' compressed and solid harmonies are still recognizable. Emily Saliers and Amy Ray may sound like sisters, but they're not.

After 10 albums for major labels, the Indigo Girls are releasing Poseidon and the Bitter Bug on their own independent label, IG Recordings. Ray says they always "felt like an indie band," even when releasing music on a major label. After many years, they finally decided to go it alone.

"We just felt like it wasn't working anymore," Ray says. "Now, when we're working really hard, we're working for ourselves. We're not working for a company we don't have a connection with."

The new album is named after one character from each of the singers' songs. "Poseidon" comes from one of Saliers' tunes, while the "Bitter Bug" is Ray's creation from "Second Time Around." Ray uses this character to describe the "bug of cynicism that gets a hold of you," and says it describes her journey through life over the past few years.

Ray and Saliers have a communal approach to writing records. They usually divide up the songwriting equally. Both have no problem pointing out the defining characteristics of an "Amy song" or an "Emily song," and say that the prospect of writing an album in each other's style sounds like a fun experiment.

"Amy has a way of rocking out that I could never achieve," Saliers says. "I could try to write a rock song, but I don't think it would feel authentic."

Here, the Indigo Girls play "Sugar Tongue," a song from Poseidon and the Bitter Bug, and close with the fan favorite "Closer to Fine," from their Grammy-winning self-titled debut.

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