Listening to terrestrial radio is a perilous – some might say fruitless – endeavor for lovers of Americana. Satellite radio is a major musical upgrade – SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country is my go-to when Jeeping through the Colorado high country – but our best option might be streaming services. Spotify just debuted its latest “playlist brand,” Indigo. Shira Knishkowy, Spotify’s Manager of Music PR and Communications, promises “anything from commercially successful superstars…to risk-takers defining success in the streaming era.” So, on its initial morning of streaming, I decided to take this new playlist for an hour-long test drive.
I tuned in during a recent Ryan Bigham tune, “Wolves.” Fellow Texan Willie Nelson was next, with the tile track from his new album, First Rose of Spring (this was a particularly welcome selection, as Nelson’s album is one of the latest to be delayed by COVID-19-related shutdowns). More well-curated cuts followed, from Americana giants like Jason Isbell and Tyler Childers and up-and-comers Hailey Whitters and Caitlyn Smith. Also heard during the hour – more mainstream folks like Eric Church and Midland, as well as the occasional left-field pull of someone like Robert Ellis, or the funky (really!) new tune from the Indigo Girls, “Sh!t Kickin’.” Fittingly, my hour wrapped up with Mr. John Prine singing “I Have Met My Love Today.”
Two immediate takeaways: First, the playlist skews new, which is just fine – new artists need airtime now more than ever, and when I do need that old-time feel (and my Elizabeth Cook fix), I can always head back to SiriusXM Channel 60. Second (and perhaps more important), during my 60 minutes, six of the 15 artists I heard were women. That ratio, a significant improvement over your not-so-local bro-country bandwidth, should make Indigo an immediate addition to your listening habit.
Check out Indigo on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DWUgBy0IJPlHq?si=2dYZeWPER7qytiZSFBvwl