Amy Rigby has made a life out of writing and singing about life. With bands Last Roundup and the Shams in eighties NYC East Village to her solo debut Diary Of A Mod Housewife out of nineties Williamsburg; through a songwriting career in 2000s Nashville and during the past decade with duo partner Wreckless Eric, she’s released records on visionary independent labels Rounder, Matador, Signature Sounds and reborn Stiff Records as well as her and Eric’s own Southern Domestic Recordings. The Old Guys, her first solo album in a dozen years, measures the weight of heroes, home; family, friends and time. Philip Roth and Bob Dylan, CD/cassette players, touring, the wisdom of age and Walter White, groupies, Robert Altman, egg creams and mentors are paid tribute. Twelve songs written by Amy and recorded by Wreckless Eric in upstate New York, The Old Guys is the sound of a good girl grown up, never giving up.
When she was thirty-seven, when most people think it’s about time to grow up and settle down, Amy Rigby did the opposite and released her first solo album Diary Of A Mod Housewife. After playing in bands for years, she seriously entered the youth-obsessed pop music game well past the acceptable age, but that was the point of the record, an early midlife battle cry complete with manifesto that ended “not…ready…to give in…yet.”
Diary Of A Mod Housewife was a critical smash and commercial success. It was voted #8 album in the 1996 Village Voice Pazz & Jop Critics’ Poll and landed Amy on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, noncommercial and college radio and in every major magazine and newspaper in the US. She’s continued to record and perform for the last two decades, appearing on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, Mountain Stage, World Cafe, Whad’Ya Know and PBS’s Speaking Freely. She’s been a panelist and performer at CMJ, South by Southwest, Bumbershoot, Lilith Fair, Rockrgrl, Folk Alliance and Southern Festival Of Books conferences, and has had her portrait drawn for the New Yorker. She was also a staff songwriter for Welk Music in Nashville and has had songs covered by They Might Be Giants, Ronnie Spector, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Laura Cantrell and used in film and TV.
Amy grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh listening to AM and FM radio, and moved to New York City in 1976 to attend Parsons School Of Design. She saw all the bands at CBGB, followed the Pop Group and Raincoats to London, and stumbled into lower Manhattan club Tier 3 with a group of friends, forming no wave band Stare Kits with Angela Jaeger (Pigbag). She began writing songs, singing harmony and playing guitar in country band Last Roundup with her brother Michael McMahon, putting out one album on Rounder in 1987. Her next band the Shams, post-modern girl group beloved by Richard Hell and Robert Quine, released one album (produced by Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye) on indie label Matador in 1991 and an EP in 1993. The Shams toured the US, opening for both the Indigo Girls and Urge Overkill (possibly the only group on earth who can make that claim) and Amy began playing solo shows and sending out cassettes of an early version of Diary. She was signed to the Koch label and worked with producer/guitarist Elliot Easton of The Cars to complete what dean of rock writers Robert Christgau called 1996’s “concept album of the year”.
Over the past two decades, Ms. Rigby has toured North America, the UK and Europe and released several more solo albums, and three albums with her husband, British pop legend Wreckless Eric. Her record “Dancing With Joey Ramone” is a staple of Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio show and kitchen sink anthem “Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again?” is played in cafes and bars around the country by real life mod housewives and husbands.