Before we get to the new song, a few words from Emily Saliers: “Listen to music, clean up messes, be outside, help our neighbors, and reflect on what we are grateful for.”
Indigo Girls are sharing “Change My Heart” from their upcoming album, Look Long (April 24, Rounder), and hear the previously released song “Shit Kickin‘.”
Written by Saliers, the psych-rock “Change My Heart” is Indigo Girls’ take on physical and spiritual universes. “The phrase “weak interactions” in the chorus represents Trump or any other person who appears strong, and yet is very weak spiritually and metaphysically,” says Emily. “It’s a reminder for me to be humble in the face of mysteries I can’t understand, or even human behavior I can’t understand. The “forcefield” is the realm of spiritual awakening. We are all vibrating beings. We can evolve to vibrate at higher frequencies. Gravity and being “grave” are not as powerful as we may think.”
“We’re still a bar band at heart,” says Emily, ahead of Indigo Girls’ 16th album. “Today, we joke about being old, but what is old when it comes to music? We’re just as inspired by younger artists, and the passion feels the same as it did when we were 25 years old.”
Produced by John Reynolds at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in Bath, England, Look Long was born from a need to sing songs and bolster each other. “People can feel lost in these times,” Saliers explains. “Let’s lament our limitations, but let’s also look beyond what’s right in front of us, take the long view of things, and strive to do better.”
In 1999, Reynolds produced Indigo Girls’ beloved album, Come On Now Social, a time described by Ray as “one of the most important moments in our musical growth.” They’ve reunited with that same band: Reynolds on drums, bassist Clare Kenny, keyboardist Carole Isaacs, cellist Caroline Dalea, and guitarist Justin Adams, joined by their longtime violinist, Lyris Hung and vocalists Lucy Wainwright Roche and Lucy Jules (George Michael). Before flying to England, the two had agreed, “Whatever happens in the studio will happen,” says Saliers. “A lot of magic unfolded because of that decision.”
Among the many highlights are “Country Radio” (hear a great full-band version on Live From Here with Chris Thile) and Reynolds’ arrangement of a recent live staple, “Howl At the Moon.”
The power of unity has always been an Indigo Girls calling card, and maybe because of it, they’ve been having a resurgence: Their audience has become more expansive and diverse, and they have a new generation of devoted peers, like Brandi Carlile and Justin Vernon, who recently said on the Broken Record podcast how he, “…adored them more and more—the more they had strength in the face of their adversity,” says Vernon. “They’re my favorite group ever.”
Since their 1989 self-titled, breakout album, the Grammy award-winning duo has racked up a slew of gold and platinum certifications and sold-out tours around the world, all while engaging in committed and uncompromising social and political activism, including immigration reform (El Refugio), LGBTQ rights, education (Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library), death penalty reform, and sustainability in Native communities. They are co-founders of Honor the Earth, a non-profit dedicated to Indigenous environmental justice and green energy solutions. They have granted over three million dollars to Native-led grassroots groups and campaigns fighting against bad energy projects but also funding sustainable ones.
Look Long will be available everywhere April 24 on Rounder Records.
March US tour dates have been postponed, and updated information can be found here.
Look Long tracklisting
Howl At the Moon
When We Were Writers
Change My Heart
Feel This Way Again
Sorrow and Joy