Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Indigo Girls ~ Come On Now Social


(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: pop rock, folk rock
Label: Sony
Year: 1999
Home: Atlanta, Georgia

Members: Amy Ray ~ guitar/mandolin/vocals
Emily Saliers ~ guitar/bazouki/vocals

Additional: Claire Kenny ~ bass
Caroline Dale ~ cello
Carol Isaacs ~ accordian/moog organ/b. vocals
Reginald Houston, Tim Green ~ sax
Renard Poche ~ trombone
Ian Stanley ~ organ

Guests: Justin Adams ~ ngoni lute
Rick Danko, Me'Shell Ndegeocell ~ bass
Garth Hudson ~ keyboards
Joan Osborne, Sheryl Crow, Natacha Atlas, Ozilline Walker, Malcolm Burn ~ b. vocals
John Reynolds ~ drums/kazoo
Kate Schellenbach, Rev. Brady Blade, Jerry Marotta ~ drums

No one could live through the 90's without listening to & enjoying the IG, particularly for the pre-Ellen gay crowd to which the band was a beacon of inspiration with their politically bent songs. I'll confess I saw them in the mid-90's at Seattle's famed Bumbershoot Festival & I've never seen so many lesbians in a crowd, my roommate one of them. Over the years they would have the typical band highs & lows, the political message often eclipsing the music, while having a tendency to suffer with predictability, a problem with many bands with lengthy careers & a recognizable trademarkable style. Come On Now Social was their unintentional comeback. Or, perhaps the better phrase is it was a new burst of creativity. Just like their earlier climactic Rites Of Passage this new album found the duo of Ray & Saliers doing more than just the folksy rock they'd started as. Like Rites Of Passage, this new burst of energy was partially accomplished not just by the traditional approach of mixing electric guitars into what was once a primarily acoustic mix but calling on friends to help expand the musical pallette, here including Sheryl Crow, Joan Osborne, Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Sinead O'Connor's backing band Ghostland & members of The Band & Luscious Jackson. The outcome is an array of styles from rock to blues to country. The key to the IG is that whenever they tackle new styles there's always a sense of questioning underneath it - will this work, is it going to far, is the message still clear? They don't experiment for the sake of it, but for the fun of it ... & to make their still reigning political message come through on a new level. Some bands experiment to reinvent themselves for a new audience, not IG. Jewel went dance then hardcore country when her original folk minded audience began to lessen. IG are a folk rock duo & always will be. They are predictable on a certain level, & certainly more radio friendly than not, & there's nothing wrong with that. Come On Now Social is later era IG, after they've become icons, where they're still willing to take risks musically & lyrically. They're still willing to push buttons. Opening electric rocker "Go", penned by Ray, kicks the album fast into high gear, yet the first lines are about a blacklisted suffragette, with the chorus "Don't take a seat/don't stand aside/this time don't assume anything." The opening message is that Come On Now Social is going to give you everything that you expect from the IG, nothing will be held back, but there's going to be lots of unexpected turns along the way. Ray ends up being the more exploratory of the pair exploring rock, country & blues with mandolin, banjo, violin, accordian & moog organ. Emily turns in a softer pop folk collection that brings in the early IG sound. It makes for a bit of a disjointed affair going from soft to rock, feminine to unintentionally masculine. But, IG fans are used to it. What keeps it vibrant & not awkward is the high level of the music across the board. Also, the two writers appeal to different listeners, laying something out for everyone that IG have made an art out of. If you're building up your IG collection this album is a must. It's a comeback that's a success, whether they planned it as a comeback or not ... which might just made it that much better because its unintentional.



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