When I was thirty-seven, the age most people think it's about time to grow up and settle down, I did the opposite and released my first solo album Diary Of A Mod Housewife. I seriously entered the youth-obsessed 90's pop music game (I'd been playing in bands for years) well past the acceptable age, but that was the point of the record. The songs were real life told through every style of music I loved: pop, country, rock, folk, homemade. It was an early-midlife battle cry (funny, I felt old then) complete with manifesto that ended "not...ready....to give in....yet." The album was a critical success and sold well enough to allow me to keep writing songs, releasing records and touring for the last two decades.
I grew up watching TV and listening to AM radio in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, moved to New York City to go to art school in 1976, and stayed there for over twenty years. I saw all the bands at CBGB's, started a club called Tier 3 with a group of friends; hung out with the Pop Group and Raincoats in London. I eventually realized I could write songs and formed a country band with one of my four brothers. Last Roundup played all over the East Village through the mid-eighties and put out an album on venerable folk label Rounder in 1987. I married dB's drummer Will Rigby, had a baby, and started post-modern girl group The Shams.
The Shams were much-loved by punk figures I'd idolized in my CBGB days: Richard Hell wrote our bio; Lenny Kaye produced our album for Matador in the early 90's; Robert Quine played guitar. The Shams performed all over the US on our own and toured with both the Indigo Girls AND Urge Overkill. I think we may be the only group on earth who can claim that.
Diary Of A Mod Housewife was voted #8 album of the year in the 1996 Village Voice Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll. It landed me on NPR's Fresh Air With Terry Gross and in every major magazine and newspaper in the US, and a lot of small town papers too. I've made several more records over the years since and have been featured on All Things Considered and CNN. I've appeared on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, Mountain Stage, World Cafe, PBS's Speaking Freely and PRI's Whad'ya Know and on BBC 6 Music's Marc Riley Show. I've been panelist and performer at CMJ, Lilith Fair, South By Southwest, Folk Alliance and Rockrgl conferences and Southern Festival Of Books and have even had my portrait drawn for the New Yorker. From 2000 to 2004 I was a staff songwriter at Welk Music in Nashville, and my songs have been covered by They Might Be Giants, Ronnie Spector and Laura Cantrell and featured in films and TV shows. My song "Dancing With Joey Ramone" is a staple of Little Steven's Underground Garage show on Sirius XM.
I still love to tour the US, Canada, UK and Europe and won't quit until I get to play in Central and South America, Japan and Australia (I won't quit then either). In the mid-2000's I relocated to rural France with my now-husband, underground pop legend Wreckless Eric. We made three albums and toured together for almost ten years. Even though we've gone back to being solo artists, we still play together and occasionally host concerts at our house in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley. When I'm not writing or playing or listening to music or helping Eric fix up our shabby fifties house, I pour beer and sell books at The Spotty Dog bookstore/bar in Hudson, NY.
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"In the movies, encroaching middle age often means the end of a career, especially for women. In music, however, age can convey character and authority, and offers endless opportunities for creative renewal. Had Amy Rigby not hit 40... the world would have missed out on one of rock's most distinctive and consistently excellent songwriters.
Since her 1996 breakout solo album "Diary of a Mod Housewife," Rigby has embraced the kinds of personal setbacks and frustrations others tend to deny... her songs are funny without being silly, rooted in the mundane but elevated by little details that bear the familiar and frank hallmarks of truth.
Who knows if the resonant sentiments are autobiographical or merely based loosely on experience. It makes no difference, since at their most hilarious or heartbreaking, Rigby makes them seem real. They're like mirrors held up for singer and listener to share, carefully polished to reflect everyday life (and all its wrinkles) as clearly as possible." -- Washington Post
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"...a fulfilling mix of witty lyrics, strong melodies and a feminist sensibility that sways easily between pop, country and folk.
Her whimsical, often autobiographical songs are masterful. Funny and enticing, she is up there with the likes of Paul Simon and Randy Newman." - New York Times
u"The poet laureate of bohemian domesticity." - Memphis Flyer
"Her wit, emotional intelligence, and superior gift for melody have enabled her to capture a moment in the lives of men and women as precisely as Carole King did in the early 70's." - Chicago Reader