The Power of Two: 'It’s Only Life After All' Brilliantly Traces the History of the Beloved Indigo Girls | Features | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

The Power of Two: ‘It’s Only Life After All’ Brilliantly Traces the History of the Beloved Indigo Girls 

It’s been a big moment for the Indigo Girls in recent years. They did a series of live-streaming concerts early in the pandemic. Their famous song “Closer to Fine” was featured in last year’s #1 movie, Barbie. A whole film called Glitter & Doom, an indie queer romcom, arrived earlier this year, featuring their music. 

The two Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, have been at it for almost 40 years, playing country-tinged folk music infused with gorgeous harmonies.  

They’re friends from childhood, both long openly gay, having come from a part of the country, Georgia, where that wasn’t always so easy, and coming of age at a time when not many people in music, especially women, were out. The two, however, are quick to note they were never a couple at any point (both are now married to others.) They’re now each about 60 years old and continue to perform and record. 

They’re the subject of a new documentary called Indigo Girls: It’s Only Life After All. Directed by Alexandra Bombach, the film explores the group’s history while offering interviews about their lives today. It explores their years of political activism across many eras, from 1980s environmentalism to 2020-era antiracism, while also looking at Saliers’ struggles with alcoholism. 

The film combines contemporary interviews with lots of archival stuff. As is the case in most documentaries about famous women from the 1990s, there’s lots of footage of talk show hosts being absolute dicks to them. But yes, you’ll hear a lot of their excellent music. 

It’s Only Life After All is a must for anyone who’s ever considered the Indigo Girls’ music important to them. 

The Indigo Girls, whose debut album arrived in 1987, were a crucial part of the Lilith Fair era, playing all three years of the original festival and later its the ill-fated revival in 2010. This makes me wonder why there hasn’t been an extensive documentary revisiting Lilith Fair at any point in the last few years, especially since there have already been at least two about Woodstock ’99 alone.  

I can’t overstate the importance of Indigo Girls’ music to the young women I grew up around in high school and college. My teenage self may or may not have made an effort to learn a bunch of their songs on guitar, leading to this all-time Twitter exchange: 

It’s Only Life After All had a long festival run throughout 2023, and I kept missing it at all of them. It had what was billed as a one-night-only theatrical release in March before landing on VOD, although some theaters are still showing it now. 

Damaged City Festival 2019 | Photos | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.

Damaged City Festival 2019 | Photos | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

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