The Indigo Girls will be emphasizing their "Differences" with the Sept. 19 release of their debut for Hollywood Records. "Despite Our Differences," according to Emily Saliers, captures much of what ma
The Indigo Girls will be emphasizing their "Differences" with the Sept. 19 release of their debut for Hollywood Records. "Despite Our Differences," according to Emily Saliers, captures much of what makes her and co-songwriter Amy Ray's compositions so distinct from one another.
"This [album] feels like every song is more different than the next, even more so that it has been in the past," Saliers tells Billboard.com. "But [producer] Mitchell Froom understood from the get-go what made us different and how to combine our sides into something that make, I guess, the 'Indigo glue.' He was the right choice for us."
The band has also folded Pink ("Rock'n'Roll Heaven's Gate") and singer Brandi Carlile ("Last Tears") into the mix, but was careful not to allow the guests to get in the way of good storytelling.
"As par for the course, many of my songs deal with interpersonal relationships and about how I'm feeling about the spirit of the world and in America," Saliers explains. "Like on 'All the Way,' the idea came to me while I was driving back home [to Atlanta] from Nashville. I saw a wreck on the side of the road, with a plume of black smoke rising from it. It gave me this impending sense of doom. So I took that image and applied it to my human relationships -- about how we all explode into each other as we're just trying to reach out. It got me thinking about the [Christian] church, sexism, all these things that sometimes make us explode."
The Indigo Girls are no strangers to writing about politics and American culture, and remain steadfast volunteers in economic, social and human rights for U.S. indigenous populations. As for Saliers, she's engaged in lengthy dialogues with her father Don, a Methodist minister, in order to come to a better understanding of Christian churches and institutions, which resulted in "A Song to Sing, A Life to Live: Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice," a non-fiction title released in 2004.
"He teaches me more about having patience with the institution, and opened my eyes to the work done by certain Christian communities. It allows me to examine and respond as a queer person without having a total knee-jerk reaction," she says. "I believe in the sacred experience and I believe in mystical spiritual forces. I even go to church sometimes. But I've dealt with deep, deep struggles with the church, especially since George [W.] Bush has entered office, with all the religious-cowboy posturing. I'm under the impression the church believes in peace."
Though the Indigo Girls have been strong voices within the lesbian community and have stirred a large following of folk music lovers for the better part of two-and-a half decades, they have noticed a growing population of new fans: children.
"If you've been doing this kind of thing for 25 years, your fanbase is going to have a bunch of kids in that time," she says. "The response has been great, but now it just makes me think twice about how many times we say 'F*ck.'"
The Indigo Girls have been on the road previewing "Despite Our Differences" since early July and are a fall tour in support.