More than 25 years after releasing their first album, the Indigo Girls are still going strong.
The Atlanta-based folk rock duo released their latest album, Beauty Queen Sister, in 2011, and are back on the road through Western Canada, with a stop at the Arden Theatre scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 1.
“We started in high school, and we found something we both loved so, so much and were passionate about. And all we ever did was take the next good step,” said Emily Saliers, who makes up the band with Amy Ray. “That meant the next gig, or to try and grow in our songwriting, or try to learn a new instrument. And here we are, 30-some years later.”
While they’ve toured extensively throughout North America, Western Canada is one area where the Indigo Girls have rarely played — or certainly not as much as Saliers would like.
“We wanted to do a comprehensive tour of Canada. Most of the stops are places we’ve never been, and that’s where we’re really excited,” she said. “We have a lot of appreciation for Canadian music, and we thought it would be fun to get to know Canada better.”
They’re also taking the time to play some smaller cities on this tour, like St. Albert; Lethrbridge; Cranbrook, B.C.; and Nelson, B.C.
Saliers said places like that give off a much different vibe.
“The venues are typically smaller than what we play in the States, and there’s an intimacy to that,” she said. “In the States, of course, every town is different from the next one in some way, and I’m sure that’s the way it is in Canada.”
Throughout their Western Canada swing, the Indigo Girls are being supported by Ottawa singer-songwriter Jeremy Fisher, whose latest album, Mint Juleps, was released in 2012.
“We knew we wanted to use a Canadian artist, just to foster simpatico between American artists and Canadian artists,” Saliers said. “We absolutely knew we wanted to pick a Canadian artist, and he was recommended to us by the promoter, so that’s why we chose him.”
Once they’re done in Western Canada, though, Saliers and Ray have a number of shows scheduled in the United States playing alongside symphony orchestras.
Saliers said it’s a “fabulous” opportunity that she’s really looking forward to it.
“In the back of our minds, we thought this would be a very cool thing to do. And then they approached us, and we just started playing these symphony shows. We hired two different guys to arrange our songs, and they’re fabulous arrangers, so we know the symphonies are quite pleased with the charts,” she said. “Musically, it’s satisfying for them, and for us, quite exciting.”
Meanwhile, the pair are planning a new studio album in 2014, and are well into the writing process.
“We haven’t made any decisions on who’s playing or producing. We’re just going to let the songs be written and sort of let them dictate the direction they go,” she said. “It’s always a really good feeling to put out new music. It just makes you feel like you’re doing your work.”
The Indigo Girls play the Arden Theatre in St. Albert at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Tickets are currently sold out, but some may be released before the show through Ticketmaster or the Arden box office.
— GLENN COOK, St. Albert Leader