Metro Weekly

Amped Indigo

Indigo Girl Amy Ray set to rock the Black Cat this Sunday.

Amy Ray says she’s more of the rocker in the Indigo Girls. “Yeah, definitely. I mean, Emily [Saliers] can play an electric guitar like crazy, she loves classic rock – Heart, AC/DC. She can play really well, but she doesn’t really write in that way much.”

Amy Ray
Amy Ray
(Photo by Matt Odom)

So at the turn of this decade, Ray decided that in addition to her work in the mostly acoustic folk duo, she wanted to be a more-amped, punk-informed solo artist. The solo side project allows Ray “to rock out, and just play with my friends and other collaborators that do more of a rock thing,” she says. “It’s smaller, more underground.”

This Sunday, Aug. 16, Ray stops at the Black Cat, touring in support of her third solo set, Didn’t It Feel Kinder.

“In my solo work, I’m more graphic than I am with Indigo Girls about issues of being queer and young, all those things we see as we’re discovering ourselves,” says Ray. “I appreciate the activists who have done a lot of work to make it easier to move through the world as a gay person.”

A lot has changed since the 45-year-old got her start with the Indigo Girls in 1985. She’s pretty sanguine about much of it, even drastic changes in the music business. “It’s sort of a revolutionary time,” says Ray. “The Internet has created a whole different avenue for distribution, and it’s cleared all this ground … for indies and artists [to] do it on their own. And that’s a cool thing.”

Ray views her dynamic, multi-dimensional Web site, which she spends “a lot of time on,” as “pretty important. It can be a community of sorts. It’s not the same as a record store or a coffee shop or a bookstore, but it can be a place for people to, I don’t know, maybe find themselves in some way.”

Amy Ray appears Sunday, Aug. 16, at 8 p.m. at the Black Cat Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-667-4490 or visit

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.