amy ray

Best Of 2014

Country Fried Rock’s listeners vote with their visits for our “Best of” lists. Combining podcast downloads with website traffic and run through a factor of the time since the program’s debut, the magic math machine yields our Top 13 of 2014!

13. Dex Romweber Duo
12. Corb Lund
11. Devil Makes 3
10. Dom Flemons
9. Amy Ray
8. John Howie, Jr. NOTE: The song posted here is from a prior record because Everything Except Goodbye was not on Rdio.
7. Jacob Furr
6. Parker Millsap
5. Caleb Caudle
4. Scott Miller
3. John Moreland
2. Fire Mountain
1. St. Paul & The Broken Bones

Thank you so much for listening to our podcasts and supporting all of the musicians on Country Fried Rock.

Amy Ray #1404

Amy Ray‘s new solo album, Goodnight Tender, allows her to explore the country music she has often been accused of writing, but this Georgia songwriter has always refused to be bottled into one form. From her on-going collaboration with Emily Saliers as The Indigo Girls, the foremost folk rock duo from the South for decades, to a reinterpretation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, to mentoring emerging songwriters and musicians, Ray follows her muse and then determines how her art should be shared. Long-time fans of her music will not be surprised by this album, as hints of Georgia and Ray’s roots have always guided her songs, but now she is not limited by expectations — and The Indigo Girls are still going strong, joined by several orchestras on tour in the coming year.

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Liner Notes
Amy Ray
Indigo Girls
Rock*A*Teens (on the Daemon Records label early on, Kelly Hogan connection, produced by David Barbe)
Ralph Stanley
Original Carter Family
Jesus Christ Superstar Resurrection
R.E.M.
Mount Moriah
Tedesci Trucks Band
The Shadowboxers

Podcast

Amy Ray

I don’t usually get very excited about a press release, but word of an Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) solo country album intrigued me. Gotta wait til January 28, 2014, though. Little birdy told me we might be talking with her soon.

Buy Amy Ray’s music HERE on Amazon or HERE on iTunes.

Dahlonega, GA: Amy Ray has released the first single, “Oyster and Pearl,” from her upcoming album, Goodnight Tender. As half of Grammy-winning songwriting folk-rock duo the Indigo Girls, Ray has always been a a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll. But her upcoming solo release, on Ray’s own Decatur-based imprint, Daemon Records on January 28, 2014, will be a career first for her — a pure country music album. Recorded last spring at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, N.C. with guests Justin Vernon, Heather McEntire (Mt. Moriah, Merge Records), members of Megafaun and vocal appearances by Kelly Hogan and Susan Tedeschi, this collection features 11 originals by Ray, along with a cover penned by McEntire.

“‘Oyster and Pearl’ is about the hope for a simple life and a simple death,” Ray told Paste Magazine, which premiered the song. “I want the listener to feel like they are sitting on a river bottom, watching the world and their days go by, just contemplating life in an easy way. I want it to feel wistful but sure, something with some age on it.”

Ray enlisted an impressive roster of collaborators for this track, including Justin Vernon, Megafaun’s Phil Cook, Mount Moriah’s Heather McEntire and Hiss Golden Messenger’s Terry Lonergan. The track was recorded live to tape at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, N.C. and mixed by Trina Shoemaker who gives the recording a warm, intimate sound.

Goodnight Tender marks a dramatic departure from Ray’s previous work, both as a solo artist and an Indigo Girl. Along with a group of trusted artists and collaborators, Ray’s sessions included fiddle, banjo, dobro, pedal steel, guitar, mandolin, bass, and drums gathered ’round a few microphones to create an authentic, vintage sound.

The songs were written over more than a decade. “I wrote ‘Broken Record’ in early 2000 while playing a few shows in Montana for Honor the Earth (the Indigo Girls’ charity organization), imagining being a bartender, missing his/her traveling lover,” Ray says. “‘My Dog’ was a little song I wrote on the bouzouki before I played much mandolin. ‘More Pills’ was one of my earliest tunes, a contrite love song about trying to rescue lost potential. The song ‘Anyhow’ came to me when I was standing in the woods watching one of my dogs get a deathly hold of a copperhead; I was thinking about half a life left.”

Legendary country songwriter, Harlan Howard, famously summed up country music as “three chords and the truth,” and Goodnight Tender offers just that — the kind of stripped-down melodies, honest, hat-in-hand emotions, keening pedal steel and old-time strings that once dominated tear-stained, honky-tonk jukeboxes. In her take on the early Nashville Sound, she sings movingly about dogs, pills, Duane Allman and heartache.

“The bloodlines and kinships in music feel pretty powerful and infinite to me these day,” she says. “I’ve heard some folks say that country is where punks go to die, I don’t know about all that, but I imagine the last mile is the most lonesome, and there’s nothing like the sound of a pedal steel to keep you company.”