What's most astonishing about Amy Ray's torrid, ferocious solo debut is just how convincingly she wears the colors of the riot grrrl. Save the dreamy acoustic "Lazyboy," the record rages like a showdown at the barricades, ... more »with Ray and her cadre of subversives (notably Sugar's David Barbe, Joan Jett, and Southern undergrounders the Butchies and the Rock*A*Teens) tearing into mainstream rock critics, antigay violence, gender stereotypes, and thorny sexual politics--all with the punk brio of Bikini Kill or Hole. If the lyrics can be as strident as manifestos, the waves of ruthless yet melodic guitar rock are never less than urgent, and often exhilarating. Stripped of all earnestness, Ray lets loose an unvarnished rock & roll passion--taking no prisoners and offering no regrets. --Roy Kasten« less
What's most astonishing about Amy Ray's torrid, ferocious solo debut is just how convincingly she wears the colors of the riot grrrl. Save the dreamy acoustic "Lazyboy," the record rages like a showdown at the barricades, with Ray and her cadre of subversives (notably Sugar's David Barbe, Joan Jett, and Southern undergrounders the Butchies and the Rock*A*Teens) tearing into mainstream rock critics, antigay violence, gender stereotypes, and thorny sexual politics--all with the punk brio of Bikini Kill or Hole. If the lyrics can be as strident as manifestos, the waves of ruthless yet melodic guitar rock are never less than urgent, and often exhilarating. Stripped of all earnestness, Ray lets loose an unvarnished rock & roll passion--taking no prisoners and offering no regrets. --Roy Kasten
"Amy Ray has a talent for writing songs that are not only lyrically meaningful and significant to today's social climate, but are also imminently catchy and fun to listen to. Branching out from the Indigo Girls, Amy uses STAG to explore her harder side, which still incorporates the excellent melodies and guitar parts we've come to expect.Backed by amazing musicians, Amy rips into such hard rockers as "Lucystoners," "Late Bloom," "Black Heart Today" and "Mountains of Glory." The Butchies seem especially in tune with Amy's vision and style of playing. A few songs are softer/slower and could almost be Indigo songs, such as "Laramie," "Lazyboy" and "Measure of Me," but it's nice to hear Amy's ability to explore this side on her own. "Lazyboy" is especially beautiful, recorded with quiet intimacy.Should you buy this album? If you're an Indigo Girls fan and find yourself enjoying both their acoustic side and their harder side (evidenced especially by the song "Touch Me Fall" and many songs from "Shaming of the Sun" and "Come On Now Social"), then you should DEFINITELY own this album. If you're mainly a fan of their lighter acoustic material and find yourself more of an Emily fan than an Amy fan, then you might not enjoy it. But I'm definitely an Emily fan when it comes to Indigo Girls, and this album really has shown me how to open my ears to a different kind of material from Amy Ray. The album is fantastic, and I'm really greatful that she chose to do a solo record to share it with the public. Keep open ears and an open mind. You won't be disappointed."
NOT surprised and NOT disappointed!
Scott Crawford | Warren, Ohio USA | 03/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike some others, I was looking forward to Amy's new album. I have been an Indigo Girls fan for years and have always known that Amy was the rockier one. STAG is definately a rockier album than your standard IG album and is a great CD. I found it very interesting that some of the themes and songs from IG albums have made their way to STAG (i.e. Johnny Rottentale). As to her becoming an "angry liberal folk singer", folk music has had a long history of championing causes. It's not a new thing. Amy's new CD is a great CD on it's own, not just because it was written by an Indigo Girl. Some of her songs are rockin' hard, crank it up, and yell along good (Lucy Stoner, Mtns. of Glory), while others are more contemplative (Laramie). There is beauty here, it's just a different form than an Indigo Girls CD."
A wealth of emotions and unleashing of an untaimed spirit
Dovesland | Decatur, GA USA | 03/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stag opens up with the folk/bluegrass Johnny Rottentail from there it covers nearly every emotion on the scale. Amy Ray has reached with in herself and pulled out a wealth of emotions that she has not been able to express with in the constraints of the Indigo Girls. Her Solo project has tapped into the well of songwriting that we have only seen glimpses of during her 15 year carrer with the the Indigo Girls. Aside from the Talent of her song writing Amy Ray has also put out a call to action on many of the political causes that are dear to her heart. On Your Honor, a tribute to some of the activists friends that she has lost over the past few years, reminds us that we need to carry on the struggle and never forget what those before us have done to further the cause of freedom. The other thread through the album is her own soul searching with gender identity. mountians of Glory, explores her own thoughts on male/female identifying in relationships. All in all it is a great beginning to what we can expect to come from this talented free spirit."
Fantastic solo effort
Brandon Cackowski-Schnell | Ashburn, VA USA | 03/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had expected this album to be a lot like Ray's contributions to the Indigo Girls, smart song writing with a hard edge over some folky backgrounds. I was right about the first two parts. Ray's songwriting is in fine form and the harder, more punk-like format displays it brilliantly. The cd has a rougher more independent feel to it and all of the songs mesh well together. While very different from the Indigo Girls, some IG influences can be felt, especially in "Johnny Rottentail" the cd's first mandolin laden track.Ray's songwriting tackles a lot of thorny issues including antigay violence and gender stereotyping. The frustration and anger that accompany these topics comes through full force yet the album never alienates it's audience.At 35 minutes the effort may seem a little short but repeated sessions with it in the player show that the album is complete, feeling neither rushed nor drawn out. Each time I listen to it I find something else that I like. I'll be keeping this one in the car player for some time."
Stag a fork in me I'm impressed!!
Joshua W. Shaver | Reno, NV United States | 10/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Amy Ray and the Indigo Girls since the begining. It caught me by suprise when Amy sucessfully branched out. From the minute I heard the first Hoot n' Hollerin' strains of "Johnny Rottentail" to the pounding ballad "On your Honor", I was hooked. Yes it did seem weird without Emily, but at the same it was captivting to hear Amy's talent showcased in this low-budget, fine, fine LP."