Simply put, this album (Indigo Girls, Rites of Passage) changed my life. In my early childhood I lived in a lot of place like Jakarta, Seoul, Brussels.... A lot of places where the music was a bit different. Not that music wasn't available, but different stuff was popular. So through elementary school I listened to a lot of Madonna, Beach Boys, and a TON of soundtracks (Footloose, La Bamba, Who's That Girl?, Top Gun). When I finally moved back stateside I was introduced to the wonderful world of metal. From 5th-8th grade it was all about the rock - everything from Warrant & Motley Crue to Alice in Chains & Nirvana to Megadeth & Anthrax. If it had a screamy singer and loud guitars, I was in. I started my first bands (awesome names like The Abyss, and Mudra) and played my best approximation of metal.
In 8th grade I came to my older brother's house (he was also a big metalhead, but much older than me) and he had a stack of new CDs sitting out that had just arrived from Columbia House (too young to remember this? Look it up!) and the top 2 were "The Sky is Crying" by Stevie Ray Vaughn (I still love this album) and "Rites of Passage" by the Indigo Girls. I listened to it and was hooked. I'd never heard singers doing the diving, looping harmonies that Emily and Amy did. I'd never considered that banjos and mandolins could be part of rock music. They were the most story-oriented songs I'd ever really heard. The words were clear, crisp and easy to understand, and the lyrical content made me think for once.
I started learning the guitar parts as best I could, amazed that acoustic guitar parts (that heretofore I'd looked at as the 'easy' kind of guitar since they'd only been used on the streamy ballads on metal albums) could be so hard. 25 years later I'm still trying to figure out some of these harmonies. In short, this record set me on the path to eventually make rock records with instrumentation you'd usually find on a country/bluegrass record, and stacks of vocal harmonies. This album may have been the biggest influence on my music of any in my life.