Indigo Girls' holiday cheer

Their 25-year career has spawned a dozen studio albums, plus live offerings and collections of their best-known songs. So it’s a bit surprising that it took Emily Saliers and Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls this long to move into O Holy Night territory.

But fans should find the group’s holiday album, Holly Happy Days, worth the wait.

“[Amy and I] were simpatico about the direction we wanted [the album] to take,” Saliers said. “I made my list of songs, and she made hers, and we cross-referenced. We have such a good way of working things out democratically.”

Unlike many pop-star seasonal releases, Holly concentrates on unconventional choices, such as In the Bleak Midwinter (the favorite hymn of both women’s mothers), Woody Guthrie’s Happy Joyous Hanukkah (featuring Janis Ian and Mary Gautier) and Chely Wright’s It Really Is (a Wonderful Life). “We knew we wanted to do some originals and a Hanukkah song, and my dad brought us Peace Child and played piano on the track,” Saliers said.

Many of the songs sport a bluegrass feel, in keeping with the Girls’ rootsy ambitions. The process of choosing tunes and recording them this summer with producer Peter Collins and top-drawer musicians, including Lloyd Maines on dobro and pedal steel guitar and Victor Krauss on bass, was exceptionally rewarding, Saliers said.

“It was such a sweet little studio in Nashville, a real home-feeling studio, and it was so inspiring to work with those players.”




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