It's no secret among Indigo Girls fans that Amy Ray's the hardass of the group. Often sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the names of her favorite punk bands and singing in a rough-and-tough rasp, Ray's the sour to musical partner Emily Saliers' sweet. "It's always going to be less raw with the Indigos," Ray says.
Ray's second solo album, Prom, sounds little like the songs she pens for the Indigo Girls. Plugged in and digging deep into personal issues, Ray delivers Prom as a blistering rumination on high school (with songs like "Put It Out for Good" and "Rural Faggot"). "It's a rite of passage," she says. "And to some degree, it's a concept album."
The Indigo Girls will return to the studio early next year to record a new CD, due for release sometime in 2006. And for the first time in more than 15 years, she and Saliers won't be part of a mega-selling corporation (they recently split from Sony-owned Epic). "We'd be better off on a small label," she says. "The business is so different now." Ray plays the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 9 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $14, available by calling 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci
Mormon comedian enjoys the single life.
Stand-up comedian Bill Squire gets into debates over polygamy every time his religion comes up. "Whenever people find out I'm Mormon, they always say, 'How many wives do you have?'" says the 23-year-old Medina resident. "I say, 'Does it look like I have any wife? I'm the most single-looking guy in the world.'" The doughy Squire debuted his act a year and a half ago, after he came back from the Philippines, where he was a Mormon missionary. Upon his return, his dad hired him to work for his masonry company. Within a month, Squire had chipped a tooth, thrown out his back, and suffered a concussion. That's when he decided to make comedy a full-time gig. "The first jokes I told were just plain awful," he says. "But if you're a musician, the first song you ever write is not going to be a good song." Squire performs at 10 p.m. Wednesday at Bassa Vita, 1572 West 117th Street in Lakewood. Admission is $2; call 216-521-4386. -- Cris Glaser
Folk duo likes it stark and dark.
Bethany Yarrow's the daughter of Peter, Paul & Mary's Peter Yarrow. But don't hold that against her. With cellist Rufus Cappadocia -- as Bethany & Rufus -- she makes semi-spooky, blues-based folk music that sounds like a forgotten piece of Americana. The pair's self-titled debut album is as sparse as they come: Cappadocia bows a five-string cello while Yarrow strums an acoustic guitar, taps on some percussion, and sings in husky, reserved tones. It's a long, long way from "Puff the Magic Dragon." Bethany & Rufus perform at the Kent Stage (175 East Main Street in Kent) at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $22, available by calling 330-677-5005. -- Michael Gallucci
All Keyed Up
10/21-10/22 Tony Poling hadn't touched his keyboards in five years when he founded 56 Daze in Michigan four years ago. "I was surprised," he says. "The battery in my keyboard still worked when I plugged it in." Since then, the quartet has played Cheap Trick, Georgia Satellites, and Grand Funk Railroad covers in Midwest and Canadian clubs. It stops at the Beer Barrel Saloon (on Delaware Avenue in Put-in-Bay) at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is free; call 419-285-2337. -- Cris Glaser