Release Date: Jan 28, 2014
Record label: Daemon Records
Genre(s): Country, Americana, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Country-Folk, Honky Tonk
Rock ‘n’ roll arrives with a time-stamp; listen to any rocker recorded after 1954 and you can probably name that decade, if not the exact year. But country – real country, not pop music gussied up with a steel guitar and a nasal twang – is timeless, and that’s rather the point. Once you feel how lonesome Hank is, once you know George stopped loving her today, once you’ve heard Patty fall to pieces, you know it makes no damn sense updating a sound that’s already perfect.
Though singer/songwriter Amy Ray has flirted with the boundaries of country music via her Americana outings -- Prom from 2005 and 2012's Lung of Love in 2012 -- until now, she's never attempted to engage in it fully. Goodnight Tender, the Indigo Girl's sixth solo album, collects 12 songs that delve into a rootsy hybrid that uses country as a solid base, but threads elements of bluegrass, folk, country, gospel, and rock through its songs. She produced all but three tunes here, and co-produced the rest with Phil Cook.
Country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, Appalachian music. . . Amy Ray has at least tangentially dipped her toes into those styles between albums with the Indigo Girls and, to a lesser extent, her solo releases of which this is her fifth. But here she dives into these waters, (mostly) unplugging for a ….
Indigo Girl Amy Ray builds further on her already ample solo catalogue with a set of songs that hew to purely backwoods terrain. The Indigo Girls’ penchant for anthemic folk rock is wholly absent here, but Ray’s credibility as a country crooner is never in doubt. Somewhat surprisingly, her vocal style takes on a masculine timbre that likens her at times to a heartbroken hillbilly, all wrapped up in the traditional trappings of banjos, fiddles, pedal steel and stand-up bass.