On their fourteenth studio album, Grammy-winning folk-rock duo Indigo Girls deliver a beautifully crafted batch of songs that revel in spirited simplicity. Alternating richly textured storytelling with moody ruminations on modern-world worries, Beauty Queen Sister reveals a fierce longing for a more idyllic existence while still celebrating the extraordinary in everyday living. Thanks to its graceful mix of openhearted songwriting and lush, intricate arrangements—not to mention powerful performances by the band and their brigade of guest musicians—Beauty Queen Sister ultimately allows the listener to slip into the sort of dreamy serenity that Amy Ray and Emily Saliers sing of striving for throughout the record.
Decades into their career, the Indigo Girls still amaze conventional pundits with their ability to grow and thrive no matter what the state of the music industry is at any given point. Saliers and Ray began performing together in high school, transferred their honest, urgent performing style onto the stages of countless small clubs, then saw their public profile take off with the 1989 release of their self-titled breakthrough (an album that included the first hit, “Closer To Fine,” and went on to win Best Contemporary Folk Recording at the 1990 Grammys).
For the Indigo Girls, the adventure may take the form of an adrenaline-fueled live CD or a warm, reflective holiday album or a collection of songs that can veer from raucous to intimate in the blink of an eye. No matter where their creative journey takes them, they hold out a hand to their listeners and we get to feel it all.
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