Clearing webs from the hovel*

Last week I attended an outdoor concert. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed live music until that fist chord came over the speakers and a hush went over the crowd.

It was the Indigo Girls (https://www.indigogirls.com/), who I’ve seen live before – although it was years ago.  Like me, they’ve aged a little. Which made everything all that much more comfortable. The Indigo Girls songwriting and performances are a rich style of storytelling that feels a bit like having drinks with an old friend. Both in hearing stories you’ve heard before and in having a few new ones to share.

The duo sang familiar tunes like *Hammer and Nail (1990) which focuses on not being overwhelmed with everything wrong with the world but rolling up your sleeves and getting to work and Shame on You (1997) which criticizes attitudes about ‘illegal immigration’. One source says the song was inspired in part by a documentary ‘Displaced in the New South’ – I can’t vouch for that, but watched parts of the film and it’s a plausible connection. https://www.folkstreams.net/films/displaced-in-the-new-south

They also performed songs from their new album that was released in 2020. An album I had somehow missed, but have spent the last few days catching up on. One of the songs I found particularly interesting and relevant to this blog – The song is ‘Shit Kickin’ (let’s be honest, the title is catchy as well). It touches on family history and delving into the past while advising you to be honest about it.  

Granddaddy was a preacher
Built that church from the sign to the steeple
I didn't know him except by his journaling hand
If you can find him you can love him
But girl you gotta be honest about him
You'll be fightin' them weeds for the rest of your days

Another one they performed from their new album was ‘When We Were Writers’, which feels like the bit where they are telling their origin story. In it, I heard how going down memory lane is all good and well, but that there’s still a fire that burns inside and this life isn’t over yet.

I sometimes find their discussions and write-ups about their music to be nearly as impactful as the music itself. They had this to say about their latest album:

Look Long considers the tremendous potential of ordinary life and suggests the possibility that an honest survey of one’s past and present, unburdened by judgement, can give shape to something new – the promise of a way forward.”

https://www.indigogirls.com/bio

The opening set was performed by Lucy Wainwright Roche (https://lucywainwrightroche.com/). Her performance was interspersed with commentary and tidbits – small stories about her family or her dog. I enjoyed her music and she has an incredible voice. 

The video below is not from the concert I attended, but Lucy Wainwright Roche has been touring with the Indigo Girls before – here she’s performing one of my favorite IG songs with them.

Overall a wonderful evening spent outdoors on a lawn chair. It reminded me to slow down, breathe, and listen. And enjoy the music.

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