Folk fans already know the luscious harmonies and heart wrenching lyrics of the Indigo Girls, composed of Emily Saliers, Amy Ray and a variety of guest musicians. For those not familiar with these multi-talented ladies, "Staring Down the Brilliant Dream," a live double disc, is an excellent place to start.
Though the radio airwaves feature many female singer/songwriters that live reclusively and show up only on MTV unplugged, the Indigo Girls are the ultimate touring band. Often their live shows are better than their studio material. What is lost in production quality is made up for by the passion and exhilaration of their performance.
"Staring Down the Brilliant Dream" features some of their faster and heavier songs including "Cold Beer and Remote Control" and "Go," a socially conscious anthem that would make Pete Seeger beam over the lines warning that the establishment will tell you "You're too old to care/You're too young to count." Some of their stalwarts are retooled including "Watershed," "Prince of Darkness," and "Closer to Fine." Special mention, however, goes to "Kid Fears" where Michael Stipe's part in the round at the finale is replaced by the awe inspiring Trina Meade at a show recorded in St. Louis. Newer songs from that touring period include "Digging for your Dream" and "Sugar Tongue," but this is a true retrospective stretching from the soulful "Moment of Forgiveness" to the mandolin sprinkled "Ozilline." The Indigo Girls have long defied genre boundaries gathering rock, alternative, folk and country together for a musical buffet that leaves true music fans sated. "Staring Down the Brilliant Dream" invites everyone to the table.
--Cindy F., Headquarters