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Indigo Girls back on the road with full-out band

The Indigo Girls Amy Ray (left) Emily Saliers are touring behind their new CD “Beauty Queen Sister.”

The Indigo Girls, Amy Ray (left) and Emily Saliers, are touring behind their new CD, “Beauty Queen Sister.”

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Indigo Girls


♦ 8 p.m. Nov. 3

♦ Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora

♦ Tickets, $45-$55

♦ (630) 896-6666

Updated: October 24, 2012 6:04PM

Although the folk-rock duo Indigo Girls has performed together in some capacity for more than 30 years, the fact that they lead separate lives has cemented their relationship on and off stage.

“We lead very distinct, independent lives,” said Emily Saliers, who along with Amy Ray, make up the legendary folk-rock duo Indigo Girls. “I co-own a restaurant. My dad is a theologian and we wrote a book together. Amy just did her fourth solo album. We are friends and we are like family. We have disagreements, but we have been through a lot together: sadness, joy, births, deaths. We are tied to each other’s lives. We don’t really fight. It is like a respectful marriage.”

Indigo Girls will perform on Nov. 3 at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora. Opening for Indigo Girls, and performing as the duo’s back-up band, is the five-piece Atlanta-based Shadowboxers. It’s the first time the women have toured with a full-out band in tow.

The two acoustical guitarists and vocalists started performing as Indigo Girls about 27 years ago. Saliers and Ray first met in elementary school in DeKalb County, Georgia, but were not friends because Saliers was a grade ahead of Ray. While attending Shamrock High School they grew closer, and started performing together, first as the B-Band and then as Saliers and Ray. After they both graduated from high school, they attended different universities, but later both returned to Georgia and transferred to Emory University. By 1985 they began performing together again, this time as Indigo Girls.

Saliers believes that part of the Grammy-winning duo’s appeal is that people relate to their songs and their sound.

“I think our music is like a travelogue to people’s lives,” she said. “They are hooked into the lyrics. They like the emphasis on harmony.”

The emphasis will be on harmony when Indigo Girls perform with The Shadowboxers at the Paramount, according to Saliers.

“I love having a band behind us,” she said. “When Amy and I tour as a duo, it is a different experience. It is more spontaneous. This is more rock ‘n’ roll: more sound, more harmony.”

The Shadowboxers are also featured on several cuts on Indigo Girls’ latest CD, “Beauty Queen Sister.” As with all of Indigo Girls’ songs, the album was created by each artist presenting her work to the other performer.

“Amy writes her songs and I write mine and we arrange together,” said Saliers about the duo’s songwriting. “When we have a finished product we show it to each other. We have faith in the other’s artistry. We just enjoy each other’s work.”

The two performers are also enjoying the new venture of performing with symphony orchestras.

“A good challenge for us has been playing with symphonies,” Saliers said. “That is a milestone for us. With different conductors, and different symphonies, you have to adjust.”

But one thing Saliers won’t adjust is the variety she enjoys in her career.

“We play alone, we write songs, we play with symphony orchestras, we play with The Shadowboxers,” she said. “We can mix it up and it’s great.”

Randall G. Mielke is a local free-lance writer.

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