Amy Ray has a new solo tune and tour, plus new shows as one-half of Indigo Girls on the way, so we caught up with the Decatur native to find out what it’s like being back on the road, recording a new album, and working with a “game changing” nonprofit in her hometown. You can catch the Amy Ray Band on the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival main stage on Friday, July 30, at 5:15 p.m. Indigo Girls are headlining the Oct. 2 Amplify Decatur benefit concert and will be ringing in the new year at Atlanta Symphony Hall on Dec. 30-31. And, of course, we had to get her playlist (listen below), which features some fine folk rock.
Q. “Chuck Will’s Widow” is your gorgeous new single, and the harmonies are special. Did you have Michelle Malone and War and Treaty in mind when you were writing it?
A. Not when I was writing it, but as soon as I finished it and was listening to it and editing and getting it right, I thought it would be super special to have some innately spiritual southern voices. Both Michelle and Michael and Tanya came to mind.
Q. This is your third single release this year. Is a new solo album on the way, and if so, what can listeners expect?
A. Yes yes yes! I am always working towards another Amy Ray Band and Indigo Girl record. I enjoy song writing and the pursuit of the craft, so am always making time for it. Also I love collaborating. My band is just so joyful and fun to play with so I am always looking towards the next project and when we can create together. We are going to Nashville to record for a week in December, hoping to release vinyl, whenever we can get it all done.
Q. You’re on a solo tour – including a stop at the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival. How does it feel to be back to playing live music in front of an audience?
A. I am psyched! this is the first time my band had played in over a year, so we are just happy to be together. Indigos have been out touring and it has been a curious re-entry with lots of thoughts flying around in everyone’s heads, the audience included, you just never know what someone out there in the crowd has been through, I always try to remember that, and especially now, it hits home. We are constantly adjusting to guidelines that affect everything from load-in to the show, to after the show, so it’s keeping us on our toes, but it’s also keeping us humble.
Q. Indigo Girls are headlining the Amplify concert in Decatur in October. What do you want people to know about the nonprofit’s mission?
A. The Decatur Cooperative Ministry is game changer to so many folks in our community. I first heard about them through my Mom and the church I grew up in -Decatur First United Methodist. DFUMC and other churches in the community are all waking up to what it means to be christian in this world, and I am heartened by how much energy they are putting towards helping people who are having bad times. Housing stability is foundational to getting out of hard times, and direct action in our own community will make us all stronger.
Q. What songs are albums have been on repeat for you lately? Is there an artist or band you’re telling everyone they should be listening to?
A. I always listen to Bon Iver, a constant in my life. other artist I am digging right now are: Joy Oladokun, Meet Me @ The Altar, Brent Cobb, Angaleena Presley, Katie Pruitt, Big Red Machine, Algiers, Kate Tempest, Minton SparksJoy