Amy Ray has been a fixture in Southern music for nearly three decades. As one-half of the harmonizing folk duo Indigo Girls, she helped shape a generation of songwriters. More recently, the Georgia native’s decidedly more country-leaning solo work draws inspiration from the nature around her Dahlonega home, delivering compelling storylines over fiddle, pedal steel, and acoustic guitar. Ray’s newest song, her first solo release since the 2018 album Holler, stays close to home, too. Called “Muscadine,” it tells the story of a very good dog.
“I wrote this song after one of my oldest dogs passed,” Ray says. “Regardless of living deaf and blind for his last few years, he was always willing to go on adventures with me in the woods. He might run into a few trees along the way, or fall in a little ditch, but he always got up and carried on.”
While Ray’s dog Sawyer inspired the song, the lyrics offer plenty for human listeners, too. “All he wants is a hand that’s kind,” she sings. “I wanna be grateful for what is mine.” A tender reflection on unconditional love, the song includes backing vocals from North Carolina’s H.C. McEntire (of Mount Moriah) and was produced by Brian Speiser of Tedeschi Trucks Band.
“I started the music from a riff on acoustic guitar, with some inspiration from Brent Cobb records, and the idea of simple parts that add up to capture a certain ache I was feeling,” Ray says of the track. “In the end, it’s a country tune about learning to love and receive love in the purest way—and to not be picky about life, but to stay the course with curiosity and gratitude.”
Below, watch the video for “Muscadine,” which features Ray on a walk near her rural Georgia home with four of her pups: Luna, Tender, Scruffy, and Perdu. The track is available for streaming or download now.