Indigo Girls

The Indigo Girls are an American folk-rock duo, consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. They got their start as part of the Athens, Georgia alternative rock scene that included The B-52's, Pylon, R.E.M., the Georgia Satellites, and Love Tractor.


The Early Years

The two women met as students at Laurel Ridge Elementary School in De Kalb County, Georgia just outside of Decatur, Georgia. While attending Shamrock High School, they started performing together as the B-Band and Saliers and Ray. Emily graduated and started attending Tulane University. A year later, Amy graduated and started at Vanderbilt University. Homesick, both returned to Georgia and transferred to Emory University. By 1985, they started performing together again, this time as the Indigo Girls.

Their first release in 1985 was a seven-inch single called Crazy Game; the b-side was Everybody's Waiting (for Someone to Come Home). That same year, they put out a six-track self-titled EP and in 1987, released their first full-length album, Strange Fire, recorded at John Keane Studio in Athens, Georgia, and including Crazy Game. With this release, they secured the services of Russell Carter, who remains their manager to the present day; they had first approached him when the EP was released, but he told them their songs were "immature" and they weren't likely to get a record deal. Strange Fire apparently changed his mind.

The success of 10,000 Maniacs, Tracy Chapman, and Suzanne Vega encouraged Epic Records to look for other women singer-songwriters; Epic signed the duo in 1988.

Major Label Years

Their first major-label release, also self-titled, included a new version of Land of Canaan, which was also on their 1985 EP and on Strange Fire. Also on the self-titled release was Closer To Fine, their first hit single, which got into the top 30 on the charts.[1] ( In 1990, they won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Recording.

The second album, Nomads*Indians*Saints, went gold in December 1991, but was not as successful as their first, which was certified platinum at about the same time. They followed it with the live Back on the Bus, Y'all. 1992's comeback album Rites of Passage was an enormous success, as was Swamp Ophelia in 1994, going platinum in September 1996.

In 1995, they released a live, double-CD, 1200 Curfews, followed by Shaming of the Sun in 1997 and Come on Now Social in 1999. Shaming of the Sun debuted at number seven on the Billboard charts, driven by the duo's high profile contribution to Lilith Fair.

2000 saw the release of Retrospective, a compilation album with two new tracks, and in 2002 the Indigo Girls released Become You, a full album of new songs which gained much critical acclaim and became a fan favorite. Their last Epic studio album is All That We Let In, released in 2004 with an accompanying tour. On June 14, 2005 they released Rarities, fulfilling their Epic contract.

The Future of the Band

With the release of Rarities, the band's contract with the Sony Epic record label is fulfilled. They expect to sign with an independent record label, but will not sign with Amy's Daemon Records as that would represent a conflict of interest for Amy.

Political Activism

The Indigo Girls have been active politically and musically. Among others, they have championed the causes of the environment, gay rights, and the rights of Native Americans.

Personal Lives

While they have both been in relationships with women and identify as lesbians, Amy and Emily have never dated each other.

Neither of the Indigo Girls appreciate extensive fan intrusion into their personal lives. However, some information about their relationships is public knowledge. Amy Ray has had long term relationships with musician Cooper Seay and feminist author Jennifer Baumgardner. Emily Saliers is with Leslie Zweben.

Solo Projects

In 1990, Amy Ray founded Daemon Records, which has signed Ellen James Society, Kristen Hall, Rose Polenzani and James Hall, among others.

Amy Ray has put out two solo albums, entitled Stag and Prom, through Daemon. Emily Saliers is also planning a solo album.

Emily Saliers, her partner, and two of their friends co-own the Watershed Restaurant in Decatur, Georgia. Emily also co-founded the Flying Biscuit Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2005, Emily Saliers and her father, Don Saliers, a theology professor at Emory University, released the book A Song To Sing, A Life To Live: Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice.


  • Strange Fire (1987, independent 11-song version)
  • Indigo Girls (1989)
  • Strange Fire (1989, major-label 10-song version)
  • Nomads*Indians*Saints (1990)
  • Back on the Bus, Y'all (1991, live)
  • Rites of Passage (1992)
  • Swamp Ophelia (1994)
  • 4.5 (1995, compilation, UK only)
  • 1200 Curfews (1995, live)
  • Shaming of the Sun (1997)
  • Come On Now Social (1999)
  • Retrospective (2000, compilation)
  • Become You (2002)
  • All That We Let In (2004)
  • Rarities (2005)

Sound samples

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