Iris Dement is not the most prolific of recording artistes and this collection of original songs is her first album since 2004 and only her fifth release in 20 years.
Iris shares with Lucinda Williams an aching quality to her voice that enables her to deliver the bittersweet sentiments of her songs with such passion and emotion. She writes about those things that, like many of us, we carry as memories throughout our lives: her mother, her father, her brothers and sisters, her childhood and sorrow, love and grief.
The songs are led by her own piano accompaniment which somehow gives the album the feel of belonging to a different age - the blend of old timey country and gospel, or perhaps it's because her songs express sentiments that are no longer fashionable.
The wistful, melancholy lyrics of each song are underpinned by that haunting piano and some glorious but understated Hammond B3, tenor sax, trumpet, bass, 12 string guitar and a National steel guitar. The band is never intrusive but delicately echoes the beauty of the melodies and the tender readings of her poetry.
She recalls her mother in "Before The Colours Fade":
"Before the colours fade from view
I sit alone remembering you
And all those things you'd say and do.
And the feel of being next to you
The angles of your sweet old face
The voice that filled my life with grace
I walk as through a sacred place
Before the colours fade"
with piano and National steel playing an accompaniment of such subtle beauty.
"Morning Glory" has the verse:
"Mornin' Glory, fuschia in green
You sweet little Jezebel in my garden of dreams.
Petals clenched tightly in the late morning sun
My day is just starting, your day is done.
Performed with just a simple piano accompaniment this beautiful song typifies a glorious album
of maturity, intelligence and beauty.