CLEARWATER - For the first time ever, Grammy-winning folk duo the Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, will embark on a national symphony tour in the United States. The tour includes a stop at Ruth Eckerd Hall Saturday, June 1 at 8 p.m. with a 36-piece symphony orchestra.
With 14 albums to their credit and a career that spans decades, the iconic duo continues to challenge themselves creatively, adding to a body of work that contains such hits and fan favorites as Galileo and Love of Our Lives.
For this tour, they’ve brought in musical arrangers Sean O’Loughlin (Chris Issak, Feist, The Decemberists, Josh Ritter) and Stephen Barber (Rosanne Cash, Alejandro Escovedo, John Legend) to write orchestral charts for a selection of songs spanning their career, from the 1980s through their most recent release, Beauty Queen Sister, on IG Recordings/Vanguard.
For Ray and Saliers, who’ve been performing together for more than two decades, this is a chance to hear their music performed in a new way and to bring something special to their fans. It’s an idea they both agree has been a long time coming.
Saliers said, “I was always awed at Paul Buckmaster’s orchestral arrangements for Elton John. Much later on, I was struck by Nanci Griffith’s music when played with an orchestra, so I knew it was exciting to hear artists with orchestras. I think Amy and I just decided it was time for us to do it at this point, something new and different and inspiring.”
“It can bring new dimension to old songs as well as highlight songs that have string arrangements on the recordings but were never played live in an orchestrated configuration,” Ray added.
The Indigo Girls first performed with an orchestra back in 2001, doing a series of shows with the Atlanta Ballet called Shed Your Skin, which included “a set of songs choreographed with a live band, an orchestra and incredible dancers,” Ray said. “Ever since then, I have pondered how cool it would be to have a set of musical scores to bring to orchestras around the country and play in a completely different setting. I’m looking forward to seeing what our arrangers are going to do with the music and am curious how they will interpret the songs.”
While each show will be different, each performance will last roughly two hours with the orchestra, an intermission, and then Ray and Saliers will perform one or two songs without the orchestra as an encore.
Reserved tickets priced at $59, $49 and $39 will be available at the Ruth Eckerd Hall Ticket Office located at 1111 McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater, by calling 727-791-7400 and online at www.RuthEckerdHall.com. The Ruth Eckerd Hall Ticket Office is open Monday through Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m. and one hour prior to show time.