In their upcoming concert special Look Long: Together (premiering Sunday) the Indigo Girls, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray, give new meaning to their lyrics “Get out the map and lay your finger any way down.” Not only does their canon take a listener on a journey through one’s memories, but the film also features musicians contributing tracks from around the globe. In 2020, just prior to shelter-in-place orders proliferating, the veteran musical duo were prepared to hit the road in support of their new album Look Long. Instead, like so many artists, they pivoted to streaming concerts from home to uplift and engage fans while introducing them to their latest music.
In Look Long: Together, an intimate gift to their fans, Saliers and Ray invite viewers into their homes in a sense. In one scene, Saliers offers backstory to the guitars hanging in a room — she notes that one was her first guitar and another was a gift from Brandi Carlile. The concert film draws on their beloved songbook, including “hits and rarities,” with the Indigo Girls sharing the inspiration behind certain lyrics and more.
“This is the tour we wanted to have in the summer of 2020 — now it’s a virtual concert created with the whole touring band plus special guests playing live and being filmed remotely to put forth a fun and interesting perspective of our dream band, complete with surprise appearances by a lot of our favorite folks!” Ray tells The Advocate via email. “It ends up being more than we could have taken out on the road. It’s a set of artists that have been formative for us and our musical compass for years. We get to show what collaboration means to us, which is pretty much the heart of our touring experience.”
While the concert special offers a glimpse into Saliers and Ray in their homes and cutting tracks in Atlanta, it also recalls those early days of 2020 and streamed musical numbers that drew folks together from around the world. The concert includes drum tracks from Brady Blade in Stockholm, Carol Isaacs on keyboards and Clare Kenny on bass from London, and Lyris Hung on violin in New York City, while Jeff Fielder contributed guitar tracks, dobro, and mandolin from Seattle.
“One great thing about this experience is getting to watch and listen to the band members and guests play and sing their parts. So we get the double experience of having a band, like we wanted to tour with, and getting to watch the band as a fan. I’m thankful for the technology that allowed us to survive the absence of live in-person concerts during the pandemic,” Saliers tells The Advocate via email.
The Indigo Girls’ activism goes hand in hand with their music. They’ve fought for Indigenous, environmental, and LGBTQ+ causes, to name a few, since they began. With the release of the concert special, Saliers also wanted to discuss the horrifying news that the Supreme Court intends to overturn the precedent-setting abortion case Roe v. Wade — and what that means for all. Saliers wrote to The Advocate:
“These justices on SCOTUS who would overturn Roe, and these privileged legislators and lawmakers who would make abortion illegal, and these religious influencers who claim the power of God in their own hands and the sheep in their herd who follow them are the coalition that has made this country a dangerous place to be a woman.
“There is a diabolical distance between those people of power and women who have to make sometimes unthinkable choices when it comes to the survival and well-being of their own bodies.
“Trust women to make decisions about their own bodies.
“And mark my words- those people who would make it illegal for a woman to make decisions about her own body are the same people who will strip away every civil right we have fought to gain in this country.
“Queers beware — this is life or death for all of us. We must galvanize, fundraise, activate, and vote to make sure we elect representatives who support human rights, including a woman’s right to sovereignty over her own body.
“Welcome back to the dark ages of the United States of America.
“We know what we have to do and we must do it for us for generations to come.”
Long Look: Together premieres Sunday on Veeps.com.