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Emily Saliers

Updated on October 26, 2014

Emily Saliers

Emily Saliers is one half of the Indigo Girls. Sure, that's what she is most noted for, but this lens focuses on her as an individual and her projects.

She's co-written a book, an owner of restaurants, an avid wine collector and has composed a film score all the while writing lyrics & music for numerous albums and touring around the US and the world. She sings, plays the guitar, banjo, piano, mandolin, ukulele, and many other instruments. Add to that all of her work as a political and environmental activist and you've got one amazing woman.

Image Credit: My photo. Taken in Lowell, MA on June 23, 2011.


Emily Ann Saliers was born in New Haven, Connecticut July 22, 1963. She grew up in Decatur, Georgia with her parents, Don and Jane Saliers, and three sisters. Her father was a professor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.

Emily first met her future bandmate Amy Ray when they were students at Laurel Ridge Elementary School. When they attended Shamrock High School they started performing together at talent shows and local venues as "Saliers & Ray" and the "B-Band".

After graduation she went to Tulane University and later transferred to Emory University. Emily graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in English. Amy had also ended up at Emory and it was there that they settled upon the band name of "Indigo Girls".

Emily began playing guitar at an early age. She also plays the banjo, piano, mandolin, ukelele, bouzouki and many other instruments.

2013 30A Songwriters Festival

Emily was one of the many artists scheduled to play at the second annual 30A Songwriters Festival. It took place January 18th through the 20th 2013.

More than 100 singer-songwriters performed over the three-day holiday weekend in venues up and down Highway 30A in Northwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico.

A Song to Sing, A Life to Live

Emily co-wrote this book with her father Don Saliers.


Watershed Restaurant is owned by Emily Saliers and three partners. Led by the award winning chef Scott Peacock, the restaurant specializes in seasonal southern cooking, old fashioned made from scratch desserts, and offers boutique and hard-to-find wines. It's housed in a converted gas station, and offers a casual, relaxed atmosphere. They are an eco friendly establishment, responsible locally and globally, cutting back on waste, recycling, supporting local organic farming, and participating in local service groups.

They have moved to:

1820 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, Georgia 3309

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday - Thursday 11:30am - 3:00pm, 5:00pm-10:00pm
Friday & Saturday 11:30am - 3:00pm, 5:00pm-11:00pm
Sunday Brunch 11:30am - 3:00pm

Reservations recommended, walk in guests welcome.

The Flying Biscuit Cafe

Emily also co-founded the Flying Biscuit Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia. There are now 6 locations throughout the city as well as 7 elsewhere in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. Best known for their breakfasts, it's also a great place for lunch & dinner and offering Southern style comfort food.

The original restaurant location:

Candler Park
1655 McLendon Ave
Atlanta, GA 30307

Open 7 days a week
7:00 am - 10:00 pm

For a full list of locations and info:

Restaurant Locations

show route and directions
A markerWatershed Restaurant -
1820 Peachtree Road, Atlanta , GA30309
get directions

B markerFlying Biscuit Cafe, Candler Park -
1655 McLendon Ave, Atlanta, GA 30307
get directions

C markerFlying Biscuit Cafe, Midtown Piedmont -
1001 Piedmont Ave, Atlanta, GA 30309
get directions

D markerFlying Biscuit Cafe, Buckhead W Paces Ferry -
3515 Northside Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30327
get directions

A Musician's Retreat

Wonder where Emily calls home?

ARTISTdirect chat with Emily Saliers

A while back I found the transcript to an ARTISTdirect chat with Emily Saliers from May 5, 2000. I thought you might like to see it too. These are some of my favorite Q & A from the chat:

Jax: I've decided not to play softball in college so that I could become conjoined twins with my guitar. Did you ever play any sports, and do you feel that you had to ever give up anything for your love of music or your career?

Emily Saliers: Good question! Well, I am a huge sports fan, huge! My favorite spectator sport is football, I love to play golf, and I'll watch just about anything on television. I especially love women's sports, basketball, but I never played sports. The competitiveness I found a little intimidating. So, when I played sports it was like pick-up games with my friends. I guess I never had the 'killer' instinct! (laughs) When I was applying for grad school, I was thinking about becoming an English teacher, but Amy and I already had a career going. So, I made that choice and I have absolutely no regrets, except when I have to be away from home for so long.


Eckybay: Hi Emily. Do you ever get tired of singing "Closer to Fine?"

Emily Saliers: No.[laughs] do you ever get tired of listening to it? It's just sort of become a fun, rah-rah song for us. We used to close every show with that, but once we moved it up in the set list, it took on a different life and now it's just a fun hootenanny song!


Kazzidy24: What was the inspiration for the extra track "Philosophy of Loss" on "Social?" Why was this song hidden and not listed on the album liner?

Emily Saliers: The inspiration was particularly about the church rejecting gay people and how hurtful that is to me as an individual, a gay person. It was just about the way we as a society or a culture rationalize our loss or the destruction that we create. It was a hidden track because originally, Amy wanted to make a pretty short record and as it was, we had twelve complete songs. But I was so attached to that song personally that we decided to make it a hidden track. So, we got the song on the album without making it part of the concise whole of 12 songs. I also like the idea that you've got the CD on, and you're listening, and it's just there. It's a nice surprise.


BLacey: As a 40 year old straight girl trying to make my peace with organized religion, I'm interested to know how you have (or if you have) found a way to have a meaningful faith life as a lesbian. I'm wondering what your feelings on this subject are. Thanks for being an inspiration every day of my life for the past 11 years!

Emily Saliers: Well, first of all, thanks for listening to the music. I have a really good relationship with my faith community at home. My father is a minister and a theology professor. He's really open, and I consider him a leader, because he believes, and other leaders believe, that those members of the church who are constantly voting to ostracize gay people are wrong. I believe that eventually things will change. I think a lot of things have to be taken in historical context. I'm not a fundamentalist; I think things have to be taken in context. And the main thing I get from the life of Jesus is He was all about loving, people loving other people, even when they're different. I've searched my heart for many, many years and I'm grateful for my faith and my faith community. I believe there are a lot of really good people in the church and I believe things will change. So, I'm not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater, for lack of a better phrase. I think all faiths have something to offer, and I think it's just about not getting caught up in the perversions of the teachings.


Peachy: Emily, which do you write first - your lyrics, or the music?

Emily Saliers: I kind of do it at the same time. I'll usually start a chord progression and however it goes will direct me to choose lyrics, things I've been thinking about over a period of time. Other times, there's something I really want to talk about, and then I'll find a chord progression that goes with it. Then, I'll just kind of hack around and find something that goes together, but it never quite captures what's in my mind. It's very difficult to write a song.


Rosepetal: I read that you had written the song "Leeds" while in England but had lost the words, only to find them later. What is the story behind that?

Emily Saliers: I wrote those words on a page in my Franklin Planner and I lost that Franklin Planner in Australia, or some other country. Somebody found it and returned it to me, and there were all these lyrics in the book, including the words to "Leeds." So, if I had never gotten that back, I never would have written that song.


Cjmasch: Has Amy ever played one of her new songs for you and your response was "Huh? What the hell does that mean?"

Emily Saliers: (laughs) I've had to ask her what things mean before, not just once. But I always like her songs, I just like the way she writes. The only thing I have to do sometimes is clarify what she means by a line, and she has to do that with my songs, too. Sometimes, we'll be doing an interview and explain what we mean, and the other one will be, oh, I didn't know that. But for the most part, we're pretty in touch with what the other is saying.


Sadly, the complete chat transcript from ARTISTdirect has been taken down. I'm glad to have saved at least this much!

Emily Saliers photos on Flickr

Those first two are mine. :)

curated content from Flickr

One Weekend A Month

In 2004, Saliers composed her first film score for this independent short film, "One Weekend A Month".

Emily Saliers Videos

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Emily is one of THE best songwriters ever - intelligent, poetic, challenging lyrics along with great melodies. And as an instrumentalist - well, she just blows me away. Love hearing her jam on the elctric guitar :D

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 7 years ago from Canada

      No, I cannot say that I am...but only because I didn't know who she was! Nice introduction. Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Emily Saliers has been a wonderful song writer and guitarist. She is number one on my list of people I'd love to sit down with and have a good talk. Throughout the past 20 years, lines from her songs have become a part of my everyday language and her songs mark important moments in my life. "The sweetest part is acting after making a decision." So true.

    • californianative profile image

      californianative 9 years ago

      I'm familiar with their music, but didn't know of her adventures as a restaurant owner. Interesting!