Tuesday Tune Two-Fer: It’s The Journey

Two songs from the Indigo Girls reminding us that the Wheel in the Sky keeps on turning

Or actually, it’s the Indigo Girls. I’ve been thinking about them a lot since the release of the documentary about them and their appearance on Seth Meyers’s show promoting it. They’re just great; absurdly talented of course, but also down to earth, bullshit free, community-oriented, and honest.

And great at writing songs about universal ideas. Emily Saliers in particular is so good at describing the serenity that comes from realizing your struggles and mistakes are essential to making you the person you are. It’s a theme that comes up over and over again in their songs, so there are a lot of great ones to choose from.

One of my favorites is “Watershed” from Nomads Indians Saints. It’s still got all the feeling of their first two albums, with the acoustic guitar and tons of harmony, and great lines like “Every five years or so I look back on my life And I have a good laugh.”

But my favorite might by “The Wood Song” from Swamp Ophelia. Listening to the Indigo Girls albums in order feels a little bit like the start of Stop Making Sense: they start out spare and acoustic, then gradually add more and more instruments as time goes on. This song was the first I’d heard that really felt like the instrumentation was adding more than just volume; it feels like the song gradually shifts the feeling from lamentation to celebration. The mistakes and struggles are victories.

(Another great song with a similar idea is “It’s Alright” from Shaming of the Sun).

2 thoughts on “Tuesday Tune Two-Fer: It’s The Journey”

  1. I first was introduced to the Indigo Girls when they opened for R.E.M. on the Green tour. Michael Stipe came out to sing ‘Kid Fears’ with them and goosebumps. I got their first album afterward and memorized every strum, lyric and breath. Watershed holds a dear space, along with so many of their songs. Thanks for the reminder and of the documentary! I had it on my radar and spaced!

    1. What a cool memory! I got to see them once playing at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, and for me it was the song “Cedar Tree” that gave me chills. I’d been a fan ever since a friend gave me a copy of “Strange Fire,” and I was amazed by how much power they could get out of their voices and two acoustic guitars. The albums feel so “intimate” for lack of a better word, that seeing them in a big crowd of fans was a nice reminder that they were getting the respect they’re due.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *