Indigo Girl Amy Ray volunteers new live solo album

Acclaimed lesbian, indie musician Amy Ray has been in the spotlight as a musician twenty years and counting.  The Decatur, Georgia native has worn a number of hats over the years from one half of uber-folk-pop duo Indigo Girls to head of Indie record label Daemon Records to outspoken Indie Rock solo artist in her own right. 

One thing that has always remained the same through all her different incarnations is Ray’s regard for tradition.  It manifests itself in her music as both an Indigo Girl and a solo recording her belief system and in her work with Daemon Records.  When it comes to putting out high-quality grassroots independent music, nobody short of Ani DiFranco knows more about doing it and doing it right than Amy Ray.  With eleven albums as an Indigo Girl and two exceptional solo releases, Ray finally met another personal milestone with the release of her first ever live solo release Amy Ray and the Volunteers:  Live From Knoxville.

Recorded live on a four-track with no fixes and barely any separation this impressive collection of songs is yet another piece of evidence that Ray is at her best when she is giving a nod to the tradition in which she is steeped.  The album features live versions of ten songs culled form both Stag and Prom that resonate clearly as an organic snapshot at the end of the band’s tour in 2005. 

As a bonus there are also two live tracks of Amy and the Butchies live in San Francisco added in the mix.  The energy is intimate and sparse—celebrating the raw energy that Ray does so well—always keeping her loyal fans coming back for more. 

In a recent exclusive phone interview with O&AN, Amy Ray talked about the live album as well as the future of Daemon Records.  For more information on Amy Ray,  her new live album or Daemon Records visit

O&AN:  I’ve been lucky enough to have seen you perform live a number of times already, so it was great to be able to hear a live album of your solo work.  How did you go about choosing the songs for the album you ended up going with?

Ray:  The band (The Volunteers) really fit their name because I put them together kind of in a weird mish-mush of the people that came and went during the recording of my first two albums.  I’m a big advocate of people just doing what they do without a whole lot of interference from me, so there were a bunch of the songs that had a different sort of vibe live than they did on the albums just because of the people who were playing them. So, I went with the more interesting takes on the songs that were just good performances.

O&AN:  What do you feel have been the biggest changes within the music industry over the past eighteen years that you have been operating Daemon?

Ray:  When we started out in 1989, we were very heavily focused on college and community radio and then that shifted.  As bigger stations started merging together, college radio started being bigger too and less community oriented.  Community radio is still there, but we’re fighting to keep it. Media really changed in that there was a really rich alternative media out there that seemed to have gone away for a while but now it seems to be coming back again. 

Record stores have really started dying out so the way you deal with the brick and mortar as opposed to virtual stores can be really crazy as far as what you choose to support and when you choose to jump ship and all that stuff.  I personally really want to support independent record stores that have a vibrant community because I think it’s important.  The Internet really exploded everything in a good way because it created a need to revolutionize that was already there but people weren’t able to act on it as readily.

O&AN:  How have those changes in the industry affected the way Daemon Records does business within the indie music community?

Ray:  Daemon is in a real transitional place right now where I am trying to figure out where we want to go next.  I want to really figure out how I can go about releasing other people’s work in a way that I can really serve them in a world where artists are realistically almost better off doing things for themselves. 

There is so much great infrastructure out there for an independent artist to really make a successful go at it alone without a middle man that I really want to learn how Daemon can really best serve its bands.  Every long lasting label over time has to kind of evolve and morph with the times they are in.  We're no different.

O&AN:  I understand you have already begun working on material for a new album of original solo material.  Can you tell us anything about it at this point?

Ray:  I’m working with Melissa York of the Butchies again and we’ve worked out about four songs together.  I’m also working with this bass player who’s a friend of hers and is this kind of old-school punk rocker guy who will also be working with me as a producer. 

Between he, Mel and me we’ve kind of created this little team and I also have a few collaborations that I want to do with a few different bands so there will definitely be a few guest spots.  Conceptually, I’m really not sure yet where I’m going to end up because I’ve got a bunch of songs to draw from that are kind of punk-pop influenced and are fun and easy to dance to but I also have this whole batch of old-school style country songs.  I haven’t decided yet if I want to merge the two or just make a separate country record.

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