Four Voices Concert

The four voices (L-R): Mary Chapin Carpenter, Joan Baez, Amy Ray, Emily Saliers

Joan Baez.

Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Indigo Girls Amy Ray and Emily Saliers

They were on stage in The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for the opening night of their Four Voices Tour.

The concert was two hours of harmony, addressing issues of life situations and politics, and enthusiasm about performing together and enjoying the response of the audience.

We had great seats in the Ryman Auditorium!

One of the interesting aspects of the performance was hearing them share their songs, like Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “The Hard Way” and the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine.”Sometimes all would sing and sometimes each one would sing a different stanza of the song.

Having just started to learn to play the mandolin, I was intrigued by the range of mandolins that Amy Ray played throughout the concert.

Each one sang at least one solo song, with the others either playing backup or sitting in chairs on stage and enjoying listening.

“It’s great that we’re such fans of each other,” Emily Saliers told the crowd.

Carpenter’s lastest album, The Things That We Are Made Of, was on sale before the concert along with tour T-shirts and concert posters. During the concert, both Baez and Saliers promoted their upcoming albums.

Often the musicians had only to play two or three notes and the sellout audience was shouting, as they knew the song.

Between every song, crew members would bring instruments on stage to exchange with the performers – different acoustical guitars, mandolins, an electric banjo, a tenor ukulele. For one song, all four played kazoos, and Joan played the harmonica for one song.

The Four Voices tour T-shirt

They performed for the two hours with no intermission.

They shared a few stories and observations between songs, but not too much talking. The primary theme was how much they enjoyed the opportunity to play together – and it showed. The four first played together for a concert benefit in 1991.

I enjoyed watching their different picking techniques and how they coordinated ending a song. Baez used finger picks on her acoustic guitar the others were more about cross picking.

After the concert — all those carved wood pews in the Ryman.

They received several standing ovations. Their last song was “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” which was a top-five song for Baez in 1971. Many in the audience were singing along.

In starting the concert, Baez told the audience that they the concert was a work in progress and “what you see is what you get.” We certainly got a great concert.