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Music / Indigo Girls

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Emily Saliers and Amy Ray

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine
— "Closer to Fine"

The Indigo Girls are an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter/guitarists Emily Saliers and Amy Ray (who has also released six albums as a solo act).

After meeting in grade school and beginning their musical collaboration in college, they have been performing together since the late 80s and as of 2019 are embarked on an international tour with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra. They are known for their complementary vocal and guitar arrangements and popular songs "Closer to Fine", "Galileo", and "Power of Two", as well as for their activism both on behalf of and apart from the lesbian community.


  • Strange Fire (1987)
  • Indigo Girls (1989)
  • Nomads Indians Saints (1990)
  • Shades Of Indigo (1990)
  • Rites of Passage (1992)
  • Swamp Ophelia (1994)
  • Shaming of the Sun (1997)
  • Come On Now Social (1999)
  • Become You (2002)
  • All That We Let In (2004)
  • Despite Our Differences (2006)
  • Poseidon and the Bitter Bug (2009)
  • Beauty Queen Sister (2011)
  • One Lost Day (2015)

Their work provides examples of:

  • Album Title Drop: The title of Swamp Ophelia appears in the middle of its central track "Touch Me Fall".
    Swamp Ophelia, I'm torn down
    Let your waters let me drown
  • As the Good Book Says...: Amy Ray majored in religion at Emory College and incorporates a lot of Biblical references into her songwriting.
    • "Strange Fire" takes inspiration from the biblical story of Aaron and his sons from Leviticus 9 and later quotes almost directly from Proverbs.
      Now who are you to speak for God
      With haughty eyes and lying tongues
      And hands that shed innocent blood
      Now who delivered you the power
    • (Probably) subverted by "Jonas and Ezekial", which Word of God says is named for two surnames Ray saw on tombstones in a slave cemetery.
  • Caged Bird Metaphor: "Able to Sing" compares a new bride to a bird being caged.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: "Romeo and Juliet" becomes a lesbian love song. They also insert a cheeky "convenient" into the first verse:
    He finds a convenient streetlight and steps out of the shade ...
  • Cover Version: Rites of Passage features a cover of "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits.
  • Epic Rocking: "Touch Me Fall" clocks in at 6:12.
  • Female Empowerment Song: "Go" is about suffrage and the fight for female liberation.
  • Folk Music: Their albums have pulled different directions on the folk-rock scale, but their roots are in this genre.
  • Gayngst: Mostly avoided, but "Touch Me Fall" and "Fugitive" seem to incorporate some of this.
  • Protest Song: Many of their songs are these. "Go", "War Rugs", and "Burn All the Letters" are notable examples.
  • Reincarnation: The subject of "Galileo", where the singer expresses her sense of obligation to the lives she has lived in the past.
    And then you had to bring up reincarnation
    Over a couple of beers the other night
    And now I'm serving time for mistakes
    Made by another in another life time ...
    How long till my soul gets it right?
  • Self-Titled Album: Their second album (and first with a major record label).
  • Shout-Out:
  • Singer-Songwriter: Both Ray and Saliers. They have stated that they usually do not write collaboratively, penning lyrics separately and figuring out arrangements together later.
  • Song Style Shift: "Touch Me Fall" does this several times before ending on a rocked-up note.
  • Title Track: Beauty Queen Sister and Strange Fire both have one.