As 50% of the Indigo Girls Amy Ray dabbled in Rock, Folk, Pop with a little bit of Alternative Country on the side, and since as she says “country is where punks go to die,” the planets seemed to be aligned and the vibes in place for her to release a real country record, and with Goodnight Tender she has done just that, and then some.
A bit of a dog-centric album, the title track pays homage to her dog Tender, “Anyhow” was inspired by watching her dog Chevron mixing it up with a copper head snake, and there even is a song called “My Dog,” but no worries if you are not a dog lover. These are great songs in their own right.
The musicianship on this album is first-rate grade a prime. Ray collected two distinctly talented groups of artists that played on separate tracks on the album forming a distinct yet cohesive whole that blended together post-production beautifully with added assistance from Kelly Hogan adding harmonies to “Goodnight Tender” and “Time Zone,” and a vocal turn from Susan Tedeschi on “Duane Allman” pound for pound the best song of the set.
This is a nice Sunday morning listen with enough of a Classic Country Ray Price feel to it to make you reach for your turntable, some sweet slide guitar to give it a bit of a blues feel, and Neko Case meets Lucinda Williams vocal styling to tie the ribbon on the present with a contemporary Americana dusting.