The Indigo’s more radical-butch gal believes in the power of punk rock
In the late-’80s, Dallas was a pivotal stop for the Indigo Girls.
"I think it was our first Rolling Stone photo shoot," Amy Ray says from her woodsy home in Georgia. "We were in a river doing some kind of religious-revival thing."
On Wednesday, as Ray returns to Big D, don’t ask her to play any songs from the Indigo catalogue.
"When I first started my solo career, people would beg and plead. But those people quickly got weeded out. My solo stuff is just different — it’s a punk rock show. And we’re playing small venues. Some Indigo fans don’t like it. And now after three albums, I’m really left with the audience that likes it."
Supporting her newest disc, "Didn’t It Feel Kinder"(Daemon), Ray’s backup band consists of a two members of lesbian queercore band The Butchies: guitarist-singer Kaia Wilson and drummer Melissa York.
Ray says there’s a distinct difference between her solo work versus the Indigos.
"I’m more nuanced about gender and being queer. Emily [Saliers] doesn’t identify as ‘gender fluid.’ I have a lot of affiliations with the trans community and talk about the gender dysphoria that goes on," Ray explains.
So does Ray identify as "trans?"
"I don’t. But I do identify as gender fluid. There’s a difference: I recognize my masculinity, and I relate to that side of myself probably more than the female side. I don’t disregard the female side, because I love it, too. So that’s why I don’t identify strictly as trans," she explains.
"I’m also a left-wing radical," she adds.
Ray’s gig at House of Blues coincides with the day after Obama’s inauguration — and the first day George and Laura Bush will once again become Texas citizens. I ask Ray for suggestions for the gay community to acknowledge our new neighbors.
"Maybe everybody could bake a casserole. Just have a long line of people dropping stuff off at the house. I like Southern casseroles: squash casserole, broccoli-and-cheese casserole, and green bean casserole.
Is Ray a Julia Child in the kitchen?
"I’m not a great cook. But when Christmas or Thanksgiving rolls around and everyone makes something, I have this great recipe for a zucchini casserole."
AMY’S ON THE WAY
On Wednesday, Amy Ray performs at House of Blues, 2200 N Lamar St
Jan 21 at 9 p.m. • $15. 214-373-8000 or Ticketmaster.com
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 16, 2009.