Interview with Amy Ray

One of my favorite Murfie podcasts is the Amy Ray podcast. Not only did I have a great chat with her in the basement of The Frequency, surrounded by walls that are covered in thousands of band stickers, paintings, and initials, but I stuck around for her show—and it was rockin’! We even got her song “Glow” on video!

Here’s a transcript of that podcast from May 2012. Read on!

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. I’m pleased to say that I got to meet Amy Ray when she came to town. You probably know her as part of the Indigo Girls, the award-winning folk-rock duo from Georgia. Now, she has a solo career to go alongside that, and a rockin’ new album called Lung of Love. Here’s a clip from the chat that we had before her show at The Frequency.

[MUSIC: “Glow” by Amy Ray]

Kayla: So I’m talking to Amy Ray right now, at The Frequency in downtown Madison. Welcome to Madison, first of all.

Amy: Thanks, I always love bein’ in Madison—always, always.

Kayla: Awesome. So you’re here debuting your new CD—you’re on tour for that. And for the past ten years, about, you’ve been going solo; so what’s that like after two decades with the Indigo Girls?

Amy: Well actually, I still do both, so it’s like, I started going solo around 2000 and just interspersing it with Indigo Girls stuff. And so, I mean, at first, it was kind of crazy because we Indigos were playing kind of big places and then when I started doing solo, I started just doing small clubs like The Frequency—which I’m still doing. So, it was kind of at first like I adjusted, and just learned how to— We drive ourselves, you know, fix my own amp, fix my guitars, you know, whatever needs to be done. And so, for me it’s like kind of, extremely DIY [laughs], is what it is, and Indigo Girls are extremely the other way. So, it’s like this great sort of thing that I just go back and forth between, and it gives me perspective on both things.

Kayla: Awesome. So, is it different putting out music nowadays, compared to the earlier days when you got started?

Amy: Yeah, ‘cause when we started, it was still, like, ’85. I mean, we started in ’80, but we were putting out music starting in ’85, and we were just out of high school. And we were doing cassettes—like how you made your friend mix tapes, we would make our little cassettes of our songs, and we did like a little vinyl single, and a little vinyl EP, and LP. Yeah, and college radio was a really big deal then, so that’s what you wanted: you wanted to get on college radio—and you still do, but now it’s harder. And um, you just had like a network—like in each city, you sort of had this network: you had the record store, the indie art paper, the college radio station, and the venue, and you tried to get all those things to kind of stick together. And that’s still what you should do, but like the difference now is that we have so many great tools—Facebook and Twitter and all these things—and ways to record music, and ways to get music out there, and everything’s cheaper. It’s either like, a really great thing, or it can be a really bad thing, but I think personally I like to look at it as a really great thing, cause I think it’s like tools that we can use to sort of get music out there, and cross-pollinate more, and share with our friends, and have music take its place as more of a community thing.

Continue reading Interview with Amy Ray

John’s Pick: Allison Weiss Was Right All Along!

If you have heard the name Allison Weiss before, then you probably already know her story. When she was fifteen, she began playing guitar to impress a boy in her creative writing class. Several years, a profile on every social networking site you could imagine and over a million YouTube views later, Allison Weiss continues to build an ever-increasing fanbase.  Her 2009 album …Was Right All Along is without a doubt the release that made my subscription to her channel pay off.

Any Allison Weiss fan will have seen a number – if not all – of her solo acoustic YouTube videos, featuring originals and covers. If you are hoping for a studio-quality album of these solo pieces, you will probably be disappointed. Instead, we are treated to full band, fleshed out versions of some really great songs – something Weiss continues to do with newer releases.  To fund the album, Allison Weiss used the crowd-sourcing pledge site Kickstarter.com, raising nearly eight thousand dollars – almost 400% her original goal. And you can hear every penny in the tracks. With …Was Right All Along, Allison Weiss’ sound changed from that of a hobbyist to that of a professional musician, and that trend continues today.

There are a few places on the album where one could nitpick (for example: the ebow on “Ghost Stories” just sounds off for some reason), but a number of the tracks reward the listener for each additional play. “You + Me + Alcohol”, “Fingers Crossed” and “Let’s Leave” steal the show in this department. “You + Me + Alcohol” may not be the most poetic of Allison Weiss’ large repertoire of songs, but it is just so damn fun to listen to and sing along.

The album features an extended band for most tracks, but it certainly does not entirely ignore the solo acoustic pieces that captivated most fans in the first place. “I Was An Island” (a personal favorite of mine) eases the listener in by slowly building on Allison Weiss’ solo acoustic guitar. It serves as a fitting transition, taking the listener from behind a webcam and into the studio. The second track on the album, “Fingers Crossed”, shows exactly how much Allison Weiss’ sound improved in the first few years of her career.

Interested in checking it out for yourself?  You’re in luck!  …Was Right All Along is available on Murfie for only $2.00!  Act quick, because it’s a steal.