Didn't It Feel Kinder

Amy RayAugust 5, 2008
Rock© 2008 Daemon Records
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Didn't It Feel Kinder is Amy Ray's fourth solo album. It was released on August 5, 2008.

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Birds Of A Feather3:43
She's Got To Be5:25
Bus Bus2:55
Cold Shoulder2:55
Who Sold The Gun3:08
Out On The Farm4:39
SLC Radio4:44
Blame Is A Killer2:37
Stand And Deliver3:43
Rabbit Foot5:01

Additional Information

Total length
August 5, 2008
© 2008 Daemon Records
File type
Access type
Streaming and by permanent download to your computer and/or device
Internet connection
Required for streaming and downloading
Playback information
Via Google Play Music app on Android v4+, iOS v7+, or by exporting MP3 files to your computer and playing on any MP3 compatible music player
The Indigo Girls move to Hollywood Records -- home of Los Lobos among others -- and do what they do best, but add some new shades and textures as well. For starters, there are no anthemic political statements here, unless you are willing to regard to the truly personal as political (an admirable stance in this crazy world). Secondly, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray really concentrate on hooks on Despite Our Differences. What the record reflects, with its gorgeous blend of acoustic guitars, slippery snare drums and cymbals, and the painterly use of electric guitars and keyboards, is a relaxed, moving, and utterly poetic offering. For many, the Indigo Girls have become a fixture, much like R.E.M., whose albums would come out year by year and blur into one another. It wasn't a rut so much as an attempt to do what they patented best. Despite Our Differences is actually different. Produced by Mitchell Froom, there is a new hunger in these tracks; there is no desperation, but a confident excitement about the craft and construction of songs that weave themselves into an album. Sure, "Pendulum Swinger" is an overtly political song, but it comes not solely from an ideology, but from a heart, wounded and ready for a culture war that can only occur with the guidance of love, collective, cultural, and personal. The comments about Hillary Rodham Clinton and others are offered in a way we haven't heard before from Saliers. But it's in the second track that the album really begins. Ray's "Little Perennials," an acoustic rocker, talks about the place of loneliness that's been accepted as the norm, and experiences connection as a ray of light. Saliers answers with "I Believe in Love," where the ending of a relationship reveals possibilities for reconciliation and self-discovery: "I want to say that underneath it all that you are my friend...the way I fell for you, I will never fall that way again/And I still believe that Despite Our Differences, what we have's enough/I believe in you and I believe in love." The rock & roll journeys that the Indigo Girls make on this album -- with Claire Kenney on bass, Froom on keyboards, Matt Chamberlain on drums, and guests who include both Pink and Brandi Carlile, and pedal steel master Greg Leisz -- are rooted deeply in the notion that personal brokenness leads to growth, possibility, love, and awakening. Forgive the new age language, but this strain of rock has been veined since the Laurel Canyon scene of the early '70s. And while the California sound ended up in despair and hedonism by way of some of its more famous practitioners, these two Southern songwriters come from the land to seek renewal from disaster, resurrection from death. Seasons get observed as metaphors for human interaction on Ray's "Three County Highway." Saliers' "Run" is one of the most beautiful vocal performances the two have ever put on tape. Ray's "Rock and Roll Heaven's Gate" (with Pink's gritty backing vocal) also reveals that she is one hell of a guitar player. This is the roar that has been suggested but never spoken. Her guitaritstry has never been celebrated, but from now on it should be, and she should never hide it again. It rocks hard and swaggers and states without irony: "I'm free to be a loser . . " The album ends on "Last Tear," a track that doesn't appear to fit musically being a shimmering country weeper, but at the same time, the lyrics speak to what's about to happen in the transition from true heartache -- one that could only have come from a worked out hope exhausting itself into brokenness and resignation -- into the acknowledgement of resolve and toward the place where sadness gives way to healing and the treasure one finds in the depths alone. The question then becomes what can we expect now from the Indigo Girls? Everything. There is no commercial slant on this music, but it's more relevant than anyone dared expect. It's accessible and moving and true. It's their own brand of rock & roll, hewn from over the years, that bears a signature that is now indelible. [This edition includes an additional CD of alternate versions, acoustic cuts and rarities.]
On Lung of Love, Amy Ray's fourth studio solo album, she explores her rock and Americana roots far more deeply than she did on Indigo Girls' 2011 album Beauty Queen Sister. While she's no hard rocker, Ray's always been the edgier half of the duo musically. This set, despite the uptempo pace of many of the tunes, is more often than not a particularly wrenching set of love songs that trace everything from brokenness to acceptance to the resolution to transcend. Ray's tunes here are tight and declamatory. Memory is the method she chooses to move her narratives along, beginning with the Americana-tinged opener "When You're Gone, You're Gone," a song that addresses a former lover whose wedding she's attending. The traces of longing -- underscored to the point of poignancy by Greg Griffith's lap steel and Melissa York's shuffling drums -- regret, and remembrance lead the protagonist to the conclusion in the title. Sad as it is, with a backing vocal chorus by Brandi Carlile and My Morning Jacket's Yim Yames, it sounds like anything but. "Glow" is a short, charging, hooky rocker that expresses no regrets about living fast, no matter the cost. "I Didn't" is a waltz, and one of the most searing numbers on the set; a tale of two lovers whose obstacles leave them at the point of separation. Ray's protagonist has been militant in her resolve to claim responsibility for her side of the street in the messiness of this love -- but no more. Julie Wolf's Wurlitzer is particularly effective at moving the story along as Ray sings above her. Another standout is "Cryin' in the Wilderness," with its trio of crunchy electric guitars and the odd but gratifying banjo strolling along to Ray's questioning lyric. The title track is a rootsy rocker that touches on everything from Phil Spector to the Del-Lords in its approach; it recounts the emotional state of new love with anticipation and daring. Ultimately, Lung of Love is a strong album. Though there are a few missteps -- the confusing "Haiti" and the downright corny "The Rock Is My Foundation," a spiritual song that attempts to wed old-time mountain music to modern alt-country -- the document's strengths supersede them in a powerful and inviting way.
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