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Second Cup Café: Indigo Girls

Back in the 1980s, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers got together to form one of music's most popular folk-rock groups, Indigo Girls.

For more than 20 years, Ray and Saliers have been traveling the world singing their brand of social consciousness. They just released their ninth studio album, "All That We Let In."

Of the 11 songs on "All That We Let In," six were written by Saliers and five by Ray. The pair performed selections from the album on The Early Show's Second Cup Café.

Ray says "Perfect World" was inspired by the creation of man-made lakes. She explains towns, pastures, cemeteries and forests were flooded to get cheap power and create recreation for people.

"I grew up swimming every weekend in one of those lakes, cutting my feet on the tops of trees, riding nude with my first girlfriend in a canoe, dreaming about all the stuff underneath us," she told The Saturday Early Show in a phone interview. "When I was in my 20s, I heard about how some Indian burial places had once been flooded out by the Tennessee Valley Authority to make one of these reservoirs.

"This was among many things I learned during my politicization. After hanging out with Indians and activists for a while, I never could see things straight anymore. The railroad became a symbol of genocide, the highway a killing field for unsuspecting beasts. We never take what we need and leave the rest. We just take, and as long as we can pretend our actions happen in a vacuum, we'll keep doing it."

Saliers says "Fill It Up Again "is a song about another relationship gone sour and trying to find a new path that will replenish what has been depleted ('you've been the hole in my skin / my shrinking water supply'). She says it's about patterns of entanglement in bad relationships ('but in the end it's still a mystery / the placement of affection and the disarray / the new road is an old friend'), but the determination to set it right ('fill it up again')."

The women dubbed themselves Indigo Girls in 1985, and self-released their debut, "Strange Fire" in 1987. In 1989, they released their self-titled album, which won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. In the years since, they've played thousands of shows, and sold millions of records.

Ray and Saliers are also activists who have done work on behalf of a number of organizations, including Honor the Earth, Women's Action for New Directions and Rock The Vote.

Many singers-songwriters, from Ani DeFranco to Sheryl Crow, credit Indigo Girls with inspiring not just good music, but good ideas in their own music.