Cat's Cradle Presents: Amy Ray SOLD OUT!
Date: Saturday, January 25, 2014 Show Starts: 9:00 pm
$15 In the Showroom
With: Heather McEntire of Mount Moriah
THIS SHOW IS SOLD OUT!
Amy Ray has gone country, and her scenic-route detour was not as out of the way as some fans might think.
The singer-songwriter, best known as half of the Grammy-winning Indigo Girls folk-rock duo, has produced a solo album, Goodnight Tender, which is country music in the purest — and purist – sense of the word. Recorded last spring at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, N.C., this collection of 11 originals by Ray, along with a cover penned by Heather McEntire, is scheduled for release January 21st, 2014 from Ray’s Decatur-based company, Daemon Records.
Legendary country songwriter, Harlan Howard famously summed up country music as “three chords and the truth,” and Goodnight Tender offers the kind of stripped-down melodies; honest, hat-in-hand emotions; and keening pedal steel and old-time strings that once emanated from tear-stained, honky-tonk jukeboxes. In her take on the early Nashville Sound, she sings movingly about dogs, pills, Duane Allman, and heartache.
For decades, Ray has performed with Emily Saliers in the Indigo Girls, and their ongoing success derives, in part, from intricate, ethereal harmonies, from the interplay of their distinct voices and sensibilities. Ray also has turned up the volume in her solo career as an ax-slinging rocker, producing six albums with punk edges and defiant, powerhouse vocals. In both capacities, she integrates the personal with the political, the dynamics of relationships with principles of progressive social justice.
Goodnight Tender marks a dramatic departure from those formats and themes, though her vocals, even when snarled at high decibels, always convey a rending ache that serves folk, punk, country, or any refrain tinged with pain. Ray convened artists she trusts with fiddle, banjo, dobro, pedal steel, guitar, mandolin, bass, and drums, and then arranged their microphone placement like an old-school sound engineer to create an authentic, vintage sound, gently imposing Strum And Twang on her Sturm Und Drang.
“I love to scream and growl, but I also love the soft, sweet singing of artists like George Jones,” Ray says, “so I slowed the tempo, got into a lower register, and let the songs and the musicians around me dictate a different direction. I was tempted to slip a political song in here, but I wanted this album free of anything that defines identity in any way.”
What she strove for instead was the rush of pure feeling.
“I didn’t want the laborious arrangement process – I wanted recordings I didn’t have to mess with too much,” she says. “So these songs are more visceral than intellectual, with a strong, wistful sense of setting that enables you to sense the creek and the dirt as well as the unrequited love. I wanted a record that sounds good and feels right when you’re driving down a rural road.”
Ray enjoys plenty of opportunities to road-test these songs on her secluded, wooded property in north Georgia, where banjos and bluegrass still echo throughout the mountains. “At some point, those sounds are bound to seep into your life,” she says.
Inspired by her neighbors, Ray, who is a vegetarian, penned “Hunter’s Prayer” for this album.
“One night this huge buck appeared in the fog – his antlers still hadn’t shed their fuzz — and stopped and looked at me in this long moment, in the way animals have of seeming to see right into you,” she recalls. “I thought of the Native activists I know, and the hunters who know how to treat the land and are much more connected to the chain of life than some of us are. So I wrote ‘Hunter’s Prayer,’ initially as a folk song, then as a barroom sing-along, and then it went into another place. It’s about not only wanting a good dog and a good love, but also wanting to find your bearings in life.”
Heather McEntire of Mount Moriah
At the heart of Mount Moriah are singer/guitarist Heather McEntire and guitarist Jenks Miller. Bassist Casey Toll joined the band in 2010 while James Wallace provided drums, organ, and piano on the album. Miracle Temple was recorded over five days at Beech House in Nashville and co-produced by Mark Nevers, Miller, and McEntire; mixed by Nevers; and mastered by Alex McCollough. McEntire, Miller, and Toll wrote the music, with all lyrics by McEntire except for "Union Street Bridge," co-written with the poet Sarah Messer. Additional tracking was done by Miller, James Wallace, Jeff Crawford, Jaron Pearlman, and Daniel Hart. The expanded arrangements feature an impressive variety of guest stars. Hart provides violin, and Allyn Love plays pedal steel. Indigo Girl Amy Ray sings gospel-tinged backing vocals alongside Bibis Ellison, Ryan Gustafson, and Midtown Dickens' Will Hackney and Catherine Edgerton.
Doors @ 8:00 PM
Show @ 9:00 PM
NOTE: Tickets are NOT refundable.