The summer of 1988 was an important time for me. I was breaking up a two-year-long relationship that had been damaging to both the young woman and myself. I was getting back in touch with my religious heritage. I spent the summer in a place with people who embraced and comforted and supported me without ever knowing they were giving me a sense of peace and comfort that I had not had for about a year of my life. I was in a place of healing.
One of the gifts I received that summer, from my dear friend Barb, was an introduction to a remarkable folk duo, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, who performed under the name Indigo Girls. I don't think anyone who heard their second release, The Indigo Girls, could not realize they were hearing musical genius. The first cut, which was also the first single, is a major statement of who they were at the time, but also defined them in a way I think they should be proud of. They are probably sick to death of performing it (especially 20 years on), but I really don't get tired of hearing it.
I think this next song is the single most beautiful composition they have ever put together. While the arrangement is lush - all those strings - the nakedness of the lyrics is so brave, I wonder how Emily sings this one facing an audience. I am happily envious that there are those who are willing to be so brutally honest about the depth of their love for others, and the sometimes dangerous places love (not obsession, but real love) can take us ("There's not enough room in the world for my pain" has resonances in my life, as I'm sure others can relate). There is someone I think of when I hear this song (my wife knows, and deals with it), and while time and life have separated us, the song takes me back to a time and place, which is what the best songs do.
One of the things I love about the Indigo Girls is their unabashed political turns. They aren't the kind to bash one over the head with their political point of view, but they do not shy away from speaking their minds. From Come On Now Social, this is Amy Ray's song "Go".