Preview: Indigo Girls at Red Butte Garden

Grammy-winning duo Indigo Girls are hitting the road as a 7-piece band this summer that includes a stop at The Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre on Monday, July 3, 2023.

Amy Ray and Emily Salier emerged out of the Atlanta music scene in the late 1980s as the folk-rock duo Indigo Girls. Their 1989 self-titled major label debut album featured the Dylan-esque, poetic hit “Closer to Fine.” That landmark tune has endured the test of time. Their break came, in part, due Tracy Chapman’s success who, a year earlier, released a mega-hit, the edgy folk single “Fast Cars.” Chapman made female-led folk cool for a new generation and opened a door for others to walk through. 

Georgia, especially Athens, became an incubator for hot new indie artists like REM in the latter part of the ‘80s. In fact several members of REM, including frontman Michael Stipe,  played on the Indigo Girls debut record. The album won a Grammy in 1990 for Best Contemporary Folk Recording and launched their career. They actually were nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy but lost out to Milli Vanilli (ouch!), who later vacated the award after they were exposed as frauds.    

The Indigo Girls would go on to release 10 hit singles and 16 studio albums over their 35-year career (seven gold, four platinum, and one double-platinum). In 2022, Ray and Salier were inducted into the Women Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In true folk tradition, the duo marries folk music with political activism. The Indigo Girls have long been involved with LGBTQ advocacy, immigration reform, death penalty reform and Native American rights. They’re co-founders of Honor the Earth, a non-profit dedicated to the survival of sustainable Native communities, Indigenous environmental justice, and green energy solutions.

The duo are touring in support of their 2020 release Long Look. It’s been five years between album releases, but there are no cobwebs to dust off their music. Their sound is as crisp as ever and songs like “Howl At The Moon” remain ageless. They’ve stayed true to their sound and songcraft and their voices blend as beautifully as they did 35-years ago. This is a quintessential Indigo Girls record with everything that’s made them enduring folk icons. For this tour they’re playing as a seven-piece band. I can’t wait to hear their orchestral sound resonate across the beautiful amphitheatre. 

Opening the show is Garrison Starr, a Grammy-nominated gospel-infused singer with a powerful voice and an equally powerful message of redemption and survival in a world of misguided piety. She recently released four singles from a forthcoming album Garrison Starr and The Gospel Truth.  “Shame The Devil,” “Oh My Soul,” “It’s Alright” and a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave” find her reclaiming her gospel/Americana roots and removing the evangelical Christian chain from around her ankle. 

Who: Indigo Girls w/ Garrison Starr

What: Long Look Tour

Where: Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre

When: July 3, 2023

Tickets and info:

Get the latest on arts and entertainment in and around Utah. And while you’re here, subscribe and get six issues of Salt Lake magazine, your guide to the best of life in Utah.

John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

Similar Articles

Most Popular