Indigo Girl Amy Ray made at stop in Chicago on her tour for her new album, Holler, at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Nov. 15.
The sold-out show was opened with an acoustic set by alt-country artist Amythyst Kiah on guitar and banjo, setting the tone just right.
When Ray came on it was with her seven-member touring band, who rocked out with vitality and skill. Ray praised their talent between songs, telling stories that showcased the love between them. Banjoist Alison Brown played a couple of short tunes on her own, complete with banjo jokes. ( "What has six eyes and three teeth? The front row of a banjo workshop." )
They played mainstays like "The Gig That Matters" and "The Rock is My Foundation" along with a stunning rendition of the Indigo Girls' "The Rise of the Black Messiah." New songs off Holler included hard rocking performances of "Sure Feels Good Anyway" and "Dadgum Down," as well as "Sparrow's Boogie" and "Bondsman" ( homages to poet Byron Herbert Reese and the film Winter's Bone, respectively ). The energetic encore was a cover of Tom Waits' "Refugee."
Photos and text by John Stadelman