Indigo Girls Return to Davidson College for Concert in New Stadium

two women standing by each other over a dark background

In the decades since their first concert at Davidson College, the Indigo Girls have built a world-wide following, produced 16 studio albums and sold more than 15 million records. Photo by Jeremy Cowart.

The Indigo Girls will return to Davidson College for a special screening of their documentary film “It’s Only Life After All,” and the next evening a concert at the new Davidson College Stadium. Over a dozen faculty members have incorporated the documentary into their teaching this semester.

The only duo with top 40 titles on the Billboard 200 in each decade from the 1980s-2010s, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are again on tour with the release of their latest record, Look Long, a stirring and eclectic collection of songs. But their connection to Davidson College stretches back some 35 years, when Saliers and Ray played an “easily sold out show” to “hundreds of screaming fans,” according to The Davidsonian student newspaper, in then-Love Auditorium (now the Richardson Wing of Chambers Building). The show included the hits “Kid Fears” and “Closer to Fine,” which was featured last year in The Barbie Movie.

Davidson College President Doug Hicks ’90 happened to be in that Davidson crowd in 1990. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome Amy and Emily back to campus and to create a unique learning opportunity for our students,” Hicks said. “Through their creative talent and international platform as respected musicians, they have brought awareness to a host of societal issues and aid to marginalized communities. They have dedicated their lives to a vision of a more just and humane world.” 

In addition to their music, the Indigo Girls are committed to raising awareness of and resources for organizations that focus on education, community building and justice. They are co-founders of Honor the Earth, a non-profit dedicated to the survival of sustainable Native communities, Indigenous environmental justice and green energy solutions.

The duo’s ties to the college are also personal – Ray’s brother, Larry, is an alum, and their longtime manager, Russell Carter ’75, got his start writing concert and album reviews for The Davidsonian and helped book concerts on campus. 

“Music was always present in my life at Davidson. There were only 1,200 students there in the 1970s and I suspect they were well aware of the music blasting out of my speakers most nights throughout the years,” Carter said. “I studied the arts in the broadest sense of the word at Davidson and was encouraged every step of the way by professors and friends to maintain my extracurricular interest in music.”

Carter’s relationship with the Indigo Girls began when their friend, R.E.M. front man Michael Stipe (represented by Bertis Downs '78), encouraged them to call Carter for legal advice. Carter has watched their budding career turn into an unusually long career by popular music standards.

“It became obvious over years that turned into decades of writing and recording that they are both consistent and prolific,” he said. “Either could have had successful solo careers from the start but they recognized the magic of their combined voices, and they loved sitting down together and arranging each other's songs – adding harmonies, working out guitar parts: creating Indigo Girls music.” 

The duo met in a Decatur, Georgia, elementary school, and began performing as high school students. Their career took off in clubs around Atlanta  – a Grammy and 16 studio albums later, their global following endures. 

two women holding guitars on a stage and smiling

Photo by Jeremy Cowart.

The rockumentary, which The Hollywood Reporter called “intimate and heartfelt,” made its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. The film tracks the Indigo Girls’ lives and career through interviews and archival footage. A free showing of the movie for Davidson students, faculty and staff will take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 25, in the Duke Family Performance Hall. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Saliers, Ray and documentary director Alexandria Bombach. Tickets are free but required: faculty and staff tickets are available via a link from DavidsonOne and student tickets are available for pick up at the Alvarez College Union ticket office.

The next day the duo will perform on the college’s campus again, but in a vastly different venue.

Their Friday, April 26, concert will take place in the new Davidson College Stadium. Student tickets are free but required; faculty and staff tickets are $25 (two-ticket limit); and tickets for the general public are $50. One dollar of every ticket sale will go to a charity selected by the Indigo Girls. 

“We joke about being old, but what is old when it comes to music? We’re still a bar band at heart,” Saliers said in the group’s official bio. “While our lyrics and writing approach may change, our passion for music feels the same as it did when we were 25 years old. As time has gone on, our audience has become more expansive and diverse, giving me a sense of joy.” 

Whether new fans come to their music first by way of a beribboned Margot Robbie belting out “Closer to Fine” in a pink convertible, or life-long fans cherish another opportunity to visit the power of two voices blending into one on the new release, the music of the Indigo Girls remains relevant and revelatory.

Published

  • February 23, 2024

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