The Indigo Girls are a joy at any time of the year but for Atlanta, they did something extra special at the Tabernacle: celebrate the holidays with a concert Friday packed with mostly holiday tunes, some well known, some not so much. (I’ve seen them seven times before over the past 18 years, so this one really stood out.)
Sponsored by Dave FM, the show also featured country artist Chely Wright, who recently came out, and local singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins.
With a simple backdrop of an old-fashioned home in a field covered in snow and their trusty back-up band, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers played all the cuts from their recent holiday release “Holly Happy Days” and sounded fabulous. (My colleague Melissa Ruggieri wrote about the album here.)
But they didn’t go the obvious route by larding the album with overdone nuggets such as “Jingle Bell Rock” or “Winter Wonderland.” They restricted the classics to three cuts, all tasteful picks: a solemn “O Holy Night,” a pensive “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and a spirited “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
They threw in three originals (”Mistletoe,” “Your Holiday Song,” “The Wonder Song”), lesser-known covers from Beth Nielsen Chapman (”There’s Still My Joy”) and Wright (“It Really Is a Wonderful Life”) and two lesser-known carols (”Peace Child,” Emily’s mom’s favorite “In the Bleak Midwinter”). The concert had a deliberate bluegrass feel, highlighted by the infectiously fun hoe-down of a Woody Guthrie song “Happy Joyous Hanukkah” as well as the upbeat “I Feel the Christmas Spirit.”
While the well-worn Christmas tunes were omitted by the Indigo Girls, Wright gave us pretty “Let It Snow” and Mullins did a lovely deep-throated version of “The Christmas Song.”
The pair did throw in a few of their own classics for good measure, including sing-alongs of “Galileo” and, of course, “Closer to Fine,” which closed out the show in very satisfactory fashion.
Here is Amy and Emily singing “O Holy Night.” Later, they also did “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”
And here’s guest Mullins doing “The Christmas Song.”
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog