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Indigo Girls rockumentary at The Moviehouse in Millerton, N.Y. on Saturday

“It’s Only Life After All” reflects pride—plus a lot of other emotions.

Alexandria Bombach’s new documentary “It’s Only Life After All” screens once more at The Moviehouse in Milleton, N.Y. this Saturday night. I caught it last week on the eve of Pride Month and thoroughly enjoyed getting better acquainted with the Indigo Girls. At the same time, I wanted a little more hit-song footage than Director Alexandria Bombach included. Such a fine line these days between concert films and rockumentaries!

Anyway, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray constitute the Indigo Girls. Long before Rihanna, Taylor, and Beyoncé dominated the musical charts, Saliers and Ray occupied a unique place in folk-rock culture. As Indigo Girls fans know, their music reflects people, places, and causes near and dear to their hearts. Plus, lyrics like “How long till my soul gets it right?”

Poster courtesy of Oscilloscope.

Their first hit single, “Closer to Fine,” came out in 1989, the same year I graduated from college. I had gone to school in Washington, D.C. but immediately moved to Washington state that summer. Back then, the Seattle music scene was all grunge—oddly embodied by a band called Nirvana. But there was also a female duo I liked a lot, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, who performed as Heart.

The early 1990s also witnessed the musical arrival of both Melissa Etheridge and k.d. Lang, who had each come out in very public ways long before gay marriage and well before Ellen Degeneres. Through it all, Ray and Sailers just kept making great music. And not only did most people assume they were gay, many thought they were also a romantic couple.

Not until after I came out did I truly appreciate who the Indigo Girls were or what they represented.

Bombach’s film shows a great deal of their private struggles. And yet I think they have endured for so long partly because of their deep respect for each other. Coming out certainly impacted their careers. Still, they kept writing and playing music, even as internalized homophobia, gender dysphoria, and alcohol use dragged them down.

In 2024, not only have the Indigo Girls endured, they have also prevailed. Much like Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” duet with Luke Combs at this year’s Grammy Awards, Brandi Carlile and her wife Catherine perform a cover version of “Closer to Fine” in last year’s “Barbie.”

Get your soul right and order tickets here for “Indigo Girls: It’s Only Life After All,” which plays this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at The Moviehouse in Millerton.

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But Not To Produce.