Back in 2012 I posted about Amy Ray’s performance at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ and noted that while she was terrific, as ever, she was also characteristically scowly, so much so, in fact, that I posted a challenge, offering $50 to anyone who could get photo or video of Amy Ray smiling and/or giggling. My proviso was that use of Tickle-me-Elmo was permitted, but actually rushing the stage and tickling her was off limits.
Nobody won the money. A few people insisted they had seen Ray looking perky at various points in her career , but none could provide hard evidence. I saw a few wispy smiles that could have just been gas. Meanwhile, a quick search of “Amy Ray” on Google Images yielded a treasure trove of pictures in which her expression ranged from dour to contemplative, but never mirthful, something that could be said of much of her cannon of musical work over the decades.
A search of Google Images today shows a stark contrast. Amid the old Ray pictures, in which she looks like she just saw a dead dog on the highway, are newer images of her looking downright cheerful. Why the change? Her new found happiness, if such it is, corresponds to the arrival of her daughter, Ozilline (Ozy), with partner Carrie Shrader.
In recent articles Ray has discussed her longtime desire to be a parent, her new country album, and her performing schedule that allows her to balance life as a touring musician with being a mom. Yesterday Ray posted a clip of her rehearsing and Ozy keeping her company and adding some percussion. The clip was a promo for her performance tonight at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC for the Second Annual Feminist Ball.
Having noted the connection, let me be clear, parenthood is not what makes all women happy. Furthermore, there is no chance that being a parent will somehow reduce Ray’s creativity, greatness or queerness. I addressed this issue in a post in 2012 when her fellow Indigo Girl, Emily Saliers, became a mom and an AfterEllen.com article suggested it would somehow make her less of a lesbian icon, as if she’d gone to the dark side. What utter nonsense.
Anyway, a big Super Butch congrats to Ray. May the happiness keep on flowing and the smiles keep on coming.