Pride Month Spotlight: Five Songs That Inspire Amy Ray

By Amy Ray, for Folk Alley

As part of Folk Alley’s Pride Month feature, we’ve asked a handful of LGBTQ+ artists to make a list of the songs or artists who most influenced them.

Both solo and with her band, Indigo Girls, Amy Ray has easily been one of the most artistically compelling and influential queer singer-songwriters of the past few decades. Her influences tend to range from punk to country and soul, and it’s interesting to consider how all of these vibes and sounds come together to make the music her fans know and love.

So, when we asked her to share a list of songs that influenced her artistically, we weren’t at all surprised that few of them fit neatly into the Folk Alley aesthetic for our Pride Month playlist. Nonetheless, these are some of the songs that influenced one of our favorite folksingers, and we wanted to share them here.

Listen to the Pride Month playlist for just one more week on the Classic Folk stream.

The Butchies – “More Rock More Talk” 

Not at all folk music, but there are many women, especially, who found their way from the lady punk scene of the 1990s to the folk singer-songwriter movement of the same decade—often via the musicians who walked that line, like Amy Ray and Ani DiFranco. And in that realm, few were more openly queer or rocking than The Butchies. (Frontwoman Kaia Wilson released a small handful of singer-songwriter albums during that same decade—worth hearing.)

Danielle Howle – “Ode to the Group Boys”

Danielle Howle is another one of those singer-songwriters who crept onto the scene in the late 1990s with some rocking full-band work and then dropped devastating singer-songwriter recordings like this one.

Waco Brothers – “Hello to Everybody”

Waco Brothers were equal parts country and punk, which is a lot of the vibe you get when you listen to Amy Ray’s solo albums especially.

Meshelle Ndegéocello – “Fool of Me”

This song is one-hundred-percent heartbreak, raw and direct and simple.

Steve Earle – “The Mountain”

Steve Earle’s collaboration with the Del McCoury Band was a meeting of worlds that delivered some incredible songs that straddled that punk-country line.

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