Iris Dement at the Iron Horse in Northampton

Iris Dement was at the Iron Horse in Northampton last week.   She came out on a Sunday evening in a church dress and church shoes to sing homesick songs from her new album, with its poems by Russian poet Anna Akhatova 1889-1966 set to Dement’s sad, country-gospel melodies. Ten years ago Dement and her husband adopted a daughter from Russia. The translated poems of Akhatova gave them a window into the culture of the land where their daughter was born.

Iris Dement can’t help singing spiritual songs that remember home and wish for homecoming. She seemed a little uneasy in the Berkshires on a Sunday evening. She told a few bible stories and pleased the crowd with her mountain voice and earnest performance.

Her encore was a blessing and an instruction to end the evening. Go on ahead and go home. Folk songs are sad songs that make us feel like we belong.

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