The Indigo Girls / Staring Down The Brilliant Dream


Staring Down the Brilliant Dream

The Indigo Girls are an American folk rock duo, consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers.

They began in Atlanta as a regular act at The Little 5 Points Pub, and were tangentially part of the Athens, Georgia college rock scene that included The B-52’s, Pylon, R.E.M., The Georgia Satellites, Widespread Panic and Love Tractor.

This release was downloaded from a PAID site on the internet, but in the process the track listing became rather mixed up. All of the songs are here, but in a rather convoluted form…my apologies.

Get Out the Map—-Perhaps the best way to experience The Indigo Girls is in a live setting…this recording only proves that assertion. the lyrics and melody lines are on a brilliant display…the harmonies are naked, real and raw and the chemistry between this dup is magically intact. This is brilliant…the gentle sounds from the band are a bit subdued, never overtaking the mastery of the two voices working together as their own instruments.

Heartache For Everyone—-With a great bass intro and a line that reeks of a subtle reggae flavor, the vocal is raw and real…sounding the best I have ever heard it sound. this is remarkably beautiful as the two voices play intimately with each other as they weave a masterpiece of a song…the Girls have this way of singing over top of each other that ALWAYS gives me gossebumps…this is no exception.

Closer To Fine—-A trademark song from this duo, this is best experienced in this setting. Live this song takes on a new life and vitality..I never get tired of the rawness of the vocals as they gently wrap themselves around each other…taking you to new heights and allowing you to feel extreme beauty. This is classic. wonderful and fresh after all of these years. When the crowd joins in on the chorus you will have goosebumps for days.

Salty South—-This is nice and gentle…full of classic acoustic guitars and a story song that transfers magically to CD. The rough vocal of Ray stacked up against the gentle voice of Saliers is masterful and has never sounded better than on this song. The gentle backing of the harmonica adds so much to the lonely feel of the song…this is just wonderful.

Go—-This is a much more raucous and electric guitar based song…and a sound that really never resonated for me where the girls where concerned. not to say that this is a bad track, but I prefer a gentler and more acoustic based sound where you can really appreciate the two voices coming together.

The Wood Song—-Returning to a magnificent acoustic flavor, this song rips my heart from me! I love any of the girls tracks that starts out with Emily…she has such a soothing voice that almost always puts tears in my eyes. this is no exception. The guitars are smooth and the harmonies are more delicious than a three course meal…this is magic!

Come On Home—-Again, the landscape that is painted by the gentle voices and the mellow guitars are one of a classic Rockwell painting that sings of simpler days and a less hectic life. This is on bright and brilliant display…the melodies are so intertwined they dig into your brain and lay there for as long as you want them to..perhaps never leaving. This is a vivid beautiful painting…wonderfully stroked and delivered with a beautiful shine.

Three County Highway—-Again the band and the duo deliver a song that is a bit more rough and with a less gleam…this is though, one of my favorite Indigo girls songs…when I first heard this track, I put it on repeat for about three days…allowing it to take over my very soul. This is wonderful, aggressive but never losing the beauty of the voices coming together. This is magic for me.

Devotion—-Beginning with that wonderful Alt-country sound they are known for, the crowd goes a bit crazy for this song that I’m really not that familiar with. The song plays well enough and the appeal is obvious as the Girls deliver the vocals in another ’round’ manner of singing with some nice harmonica thrown in in-between. This is really nice!

Digging for Your Dream—-Another of those songs that really found a way under my skin and settled there for quite sometime, it seems to be even better live. This has an energy that is lacking on the recorded version, perhaps propelled by the crowd. The vocal of Ray is a bit weak, but it is nice to hear her step out of her comfort zone…remarkable.

Cold Beer And Remote Control—-Remarkably delivered with a nice Americana sound, Emily begins and Amy joins in by the second verse and the song becomes a huge rant against the rush, rush of the world and the need for a gentle and more relaxed way of life…an escape from the every day bullshit and an urge to run back to the backwoods when people never heard of cell phones or Playstation 360….

Rock And Roll Heaven’s Gate—-This is a fantastic song…..one of my favorites’ from the later releases by this by now iconic band. This is fantastic…the voices play so well off of each other…you cannot help but get sucked in to the play off of each other. This has a fantastic melody line and a remarkable contrast that lies underneath the song as Amt rides on top and Emily delivers underneath in a quieter and less obvious harmony line. This is just magical.

I Believe In Love—-Emily delivers the opening lines…as much of the mellow songs from this duo are formed. the lyrics are magnificent and vivid…added to the harmonies, this becomes a rather fantastic song that you can not get out of your head for quite sometimes. This is a gentle and a bit juvenile track that reminds me of my first feelings of love…if only those feelings could be that way forever. Wonderful.

Moment Of Forgiveness—-This is fantastic as well…reminding me of a lost Springsteen track from Nebraska….this whole song just has that lone and lost feel to it. When the Girls begins to intertwine te harmonies, the song becomes even more magnificent. I love this stuff…I never get tired of this Americana feel of their music…this is just magical.

Fill It Up Again—-This is nice, but i could think of so many other songs that the duo could have put in the place of this song from this era of songwriting. I do not mind this, and the crowd seems to love it as they finish the sentences for the band…that is the magical part of the song….the interaction is full of such love and adoration. This is nice!

Fugitive—-One of the few songs from this duo where a piano was really present in the mix of everything. I love the lack of pretention…the prefix’s are not contrived and the girls openly write all of their songs in the female prefix…not hiding who or what they are for a moment. this is a pretty brooding dark song…none the less….when the voices combine, you forget everything else but that.

Cordova—-Again, this goes into a newer territory as the song seems to feature more than a piano, but more of an organ sound…this gives the song a nice ghostly and lonely feel that makes you hand your head a bit and feel a weight across your shoulder blades as you fall into the deep dankness of the track. Amy seems to carry most of the vocal parts on this song…accompanied by a nice crisp mandolin that rides over everything else. This is stark, naked and brilliantly wonderful.

Sugar Tongue—-Nice…..I had almost forgotten about this song with all of the material that this band has produced since the 80’s, but it is so nice to know that there are still favorites that don’t get played on a regular basis. I am wonderfully elated by this song as well…the guitar and the interplay of the voices fill me with wonderment and joy.

Fly Away—-This is just a wonderful little song that allows you to remember that this band is above all very talented songwriters. Emily delivers line after line of lyrics that stab at your heart and make your brain bleed with realization. This is just beautiful….the gentle piano and guitar combination comes together to create a landscape that makes your heart bleed and reminds you how much more your soul needs to grow.

What Are You Like—-Even though i am not particularly familiar with this song, there is still a magic that is evident from the very onset. The girls come together in that remarkable harmonizing way that just makes you shake your head and wonder if these kinds of pairings are determined in heaven far before the actual happening…this is heavenly after all.

Ozilline—-Now, this is Americana from the word go….the banjo that plays is full of the laid back woods feel that the joined harmonies have been aching for. This is magical…you could never ask for more from this duo. This is a pure moment that is caught and will live in infamy, one that I will without a doubt visit again and again and again. Wonderful!

Second Time Around—-Stark and magnificent, this story song is again full of brilliant harmonies and magnificent Americana style guitars. The vocal is haunted and lonely…only adding to the powerful music that plays in the backdrop. It would seem to me that these Girls rarely take a misstep or do anything wrong. When the harmonica enters the scene…you are transported to a different time and place.

Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright—-This is great….right from the onset, the guitars that introduce the song are a nice Grand Ole Opry style Gospel magic. When the vocals enter you are sure of the fact…this is a nice country song that you cannot escape. This is a honky-tonk feel that gets deep under your school and makes you wonder if these Girls have ever had the privilege of adorning the stage in Nashville…it would only seem natural and right!

Love Of Our Lives—-Wonderful!!!! This is a huge track….there seems to be a hundred voices singing all at the same time and the energy is freakin’ magnificent. This is pure magic. The gentle intertwining of the two vocals come together and the backdrop of escalating music that drives the song makes this even more magnificent….this is fantastic!!!

Become You—-Beginning with a huge choir of harmonicas, the vocal of Ray enters with a nice worn and warmed up feel that gives the song an even more rustic feel. Emily rides things slowly and quietly in the backdrop, but it would not be the same song without that. The guitars are a constant and steady rhythm that drives everything but keeps it at a magical pace…this is brilliant.

Kid Fears—-Perhaps my favorite Indigo Girls song, this goes way back to the first major label release but the actual second release from the duo. The original, featuring a huge and mighty guest vocal by Michael Stipe, just brings sobs to my psyche….the song is not quite the same without that vocal. Even still, this is so powerful and magnificent….perhaps the best song in this bands catalog.

Prince Of Darkness—-Also from that same era, this song is full of dark imagery and pure explicit lyrics of the excess of the decade that brought this band into fruition. This still manages to sound as fresh today as it was then…still as poignant and still as real and raw. This is brilliant….a true story that reminds you of the importance of keeping that which is real to you the closet…and those the most foreign at an arm’s length. Fantastic!!!

Watershed—-Another of those songs that still manages to remain a favorite of mine despite the hundreds that I have to choose from. The lyrics are magnificent…a slight religious imagery prevails through the song and makes me thing of the people long ago taking the long march through the trails and dirt roads of Damascus…this to me takes me back to those very days. The gentle harmonies are magical and conjures up huge chorus’ of voices arising as they struggle through the difficulties of traveling by foot. This is pure magic for me.

Shame On You—-Really never one of my favorite tracks from this duo, in a live setting, the band takes on anew energy and the song sounds more fresh and driven. This is ok, but i could do without…this is an Amy ray song that should have been on her solo effort. I’m just say in’.

Tether—-Ray again begins the song with a pretty aggressive vocal that is backed by an organ sound that kind of gets on my nerves. The guitars are very slow to enter and the voice of Emily is nowhere to be heard. This is a Tom Petty styled rocker ballad that lacks energy because the double layered vocal is missing. Even when Sailers does enter you barely hear the mastery of the well tuned harmonies…to me. this is just so so.

Wild Horses—-Rounding out things in a magnificent manner, the girls leave the crowd drenched in the sweet sweat of heart-felt emotions and the gentle longing of love. The entire release seems to leave me wanting so much more from my life…this last song…a masterful cover saps all of the lasting strength that i have and leaves me drained and lonely…wanting more but never needing to hear any more….waiting for the nest with anticipation, but turning my head with the introduction of new. This has been a magnificent journey!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

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