"I've been a mod housewife since 1993 when I decided I was not going to get down on my hands and knees and scrub the bathroom floor unless I could get up on stage and sing about it," says the illuminating first sentence of the liner notes on singer/songwriter Amy Rigby's exceptional 1996 album, Diary of a Mod Housewife. Produced by former Cars member Elliot Easton, the critically acclaimed record -- Rigby's solo debut -- takes a cue from the 1970 movie of a similar name, Diary of a Mad Housewife, recounting the story of an unhappy woman's vain attempts to reach contentment. Rigby's Diary chronicles the dissolution of her marriage to former dB's drummer Will Rigby and the mundanity of life as a single mom, with sharp lyrics and engaging melodies all her own. ("I work so hard to get my house with a yard/but sometimes I wonder why do I do any of it," she admits in the bouncy tune "The Good Girls"). Think the catchy, confessional style of Liz Phair sans the potty mouth. Kind of an altcountry Carly Simon with a distinctively Dolly Parton-esque edge to her voice.
That was eight years ago, a long way away from dull domesticity and even further from her days as a member of New York cowpunk band Last Roundup in the late Eighties and all-girl trio the Shams in the early Nineties. Since then Rigby has recorded three more solo albums and toured with Warren Zevon, Billy Bragg, and Bob Mould. Now living in Nashville, the 44-year-old mom to a teenage girl just faced a midlife crisis with grace, going into the studio and using the material on her latest work, Til the Wheels Fall Off. Released in 2003, the record was as revered as her very first. Still adored by the music critics, Rigby is not nearly as famous as she should be. We're happy to see, though, that she's still working on it.