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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Iris Dement at Cat's Cradle June 28 - A Short Review and Set List

My daughter Heather and I enjoyed a Saturday evening Iris Dement concert at Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill/Carrboro NC. Cat’s Cradle is a good venue for Iris and her music – very intimate and good sound quality. It was jam packed.

Compared to when Heather and I saw her two years ago, Iris seemed more confident, more relaxed, and less fragile (though that fragility added something special to the show two years ago). She did not play as many of her older songs this time. During the show she said she was losing her voice but I thought her voice was better than two years ago, plus I thought it got better as the show went on. She seemed to really be putting herself into the singing, the phrasing and such. I'll go see her any time she is close.

Unlike last time, she did not play solo. Two gentlemen from John Prine’s band, Dave Jacques on bass, and Jason Wilbur on guitar, played with her. She seemed to enjoy the company on stage and it made her songs sound a bit more like they sound in the recordings. These guys are first class and Iris deemed to feed off their talent and energy. She talked less and laughed more compared to last time.

Dave Jaques opened the show with a set of about half a dozen songs, mostly original. I really liked him. The line was too long at the show to get a CD but I plan to soon.

I have two wishes: it seems that Iris has enough new original songs for another CD of her original music. Plus, since I got to hear her cover more songs this time including Merle Haggard (three songs), Tom T. Hall, Hank Williams, Doc Watson, and Greg Brown). I'd love her to do a record just covering other people's songs. It doesn't matter who wrote it, when she sings it it feels like an Iris Dement song!

Here is the set list, as best as I can put it together. I am a little uncertain of the titles of a couple of the songs. Iris Dement fans tend to just call her “Iris” so I’ll do the same – but it’s not like I know her!

Oh, I mention whether she played guitar or piano. Her piano playing was way stronger than last time. I love her unique honky-tonk/gospel “Iris” style. It makes me want to play more.

1. Jambalaya (On the Bayou) - (Hank Williams) - guitar
2. The Old Gospel Ship – guitar
3. I Washed My Face in The Morning Dew (Tom T Hall) - guitar
4. The Way I Should - guitar
5. Let the Mystery Be - guitar
6. He Reached Down - piano
7. Legle's Hill - piano
8. Going Away Party (Merle Haggard –Iris mentioned Cindy Walker) - piano
9. When My Morning Comes Around - piano
10. Living on the Inside - piano
11. Pray (Merle Haggard) - piano
12. Mama's Truth - piano
13. This Love's Gonna Last - guitar
14. Our Town - guitar
15. The Night I Learned How Not to Pray - guitar
16. Cheapest Kind (Greg Brown, her husband) – guitar
17. Whole Lot of Heaven - fantastic Iris song I had not heard before - guitar

18. Mama Tried (Merle Haggard) - guitar
19. Sunny Side of Life (Doc Watson) – guitar

If you are not familiar with Iris Dement there are some good clips of her on You Tube. Try these:

Sweet is the Melody
My Life
Our Town - with Emmylou Harris
In Spite of Ourselves - with John Prine
He Reached Down - with Joan Osborne (not You Tube)


You can listen to some Jason Wilbur songs on his MySpace site - I really liked Lazy Afternoon.

4 comments:

Charles Getchell said...

Joel, Thanks for your great review of Iris' Carolina show. I have so enjoyed her in the northeast and with John Prine in D.C. I think it's neat you took your daughter...when I saw her recently in Maine, a mother and daughter sat across the table from me, and they both had such fun...music is great across generations as I can testify -- I have three sons.

To those who are not familiar with Iris' music, do follow the links provided and try out her CDs. Hers is a unique voice and the musical influences on her and her writing are many.

She's a prize...a wonderful performer.

mypacer said...

I too, took a skeptical wife and daughter to my first Iris Dement concert recently. While they were lukewarm about her recordings, they came away very impressed by the power and beauty of her performance. Iris is without peer as a singer/songwriter and in my opinion, criminally underrated by the music industry. I urge anyone who is not familiar with Iris' music to give her a listen-you will not be dissapointed.

Donna said...

My wish is that Iris would appear somewhere in the area around her Kansas City hometown. She was a no-show when my husband took me to see her in Iowa City, and he won't forgive her for that. So the only way I'd be able to see her in person would be if she appears nearby.

Anonymous said...

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