Are you still ignoring Iris Dement?

The last live show I attended, shortly before the Pandemic closed everything down, was multi-Grammy nominee Iris Dement, at The Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon, a wonderful-sounding deco-style converted movie theater. It was my third time seeing Iris (the other two being at The Troubadour in West L.A.), and as before she was astonishing. Iris on stage alone, playing her grand piano and acoustic guitar, and singing like no one else on Earth. Sounds like hyperbole? Consider the following:

- Merle Haggard on Iris: "The best singer I’ve ever heard." Let that sink in for a moment. Merle recorded her incredible song "No Time To Cry" (found on her second album, My Life), but her original is imo far superior.

- Rolling Stone on her debut album, Infamous Angel: "An essential album of the 1990’s."

- The Guardian: "One of the finest singer-songwriters in America."

- The Boston Globe on her 2012 album, Sing The Delta: "A work of rare, unvarnished grace and power."

- David Byrne & Natalie Merchant performed Iris’ wonderful "Let The Mystery Be" as a duet on MTV Unplugged. Brave of Byrne, as he’s not much of a singer ;-) .

Iris of course caught the ear of many of her contemporaries, including John Prine (he and Iris recorded and toured together off-and-on), Emmylou Harris and Joan Osborne (seen and heard singing harmony with Iris in one of Dement’s many YouTube videos), and Steve Earle, all admirers of hers. She also attracts the best musicians, including the master dobro player Jerry Douglas.

And yet, Iris remains under the radar for most people, including, I have no doubt, many (perhaps most) here. Why? Sorry Iris, I can’t let the mystery be. ;-)

Iris is about the resume touring, so if you're interested check her website to see if she's coming to your area. For ya'll in Seattle, she'll be in town in September, I believe it is. @tomic601, you listening?! If she's not coming through Portland this time, I may just drive up to Seattle to again see and hear her. For those who choose to attend a show of her's, prepare to have your life changed. ;-)

Maria McKee is sort of her generation’s Linda Ronstadt; she has a great set of pipes, and can really belt it out. I saw and heard her live when she was in Lone Justice, an L.A. band that was part of the "Cowpunk" scene in the 1980’s. Another band in that scene was The Long Ryders, whose drummer was married to Lucinda Williams during their heyday.

I mentioned this in another thread, but Maria’s older brother is Bryan Maclean of the 60’s group Love. Lone Justice’s drummer was Don Heffington, whose talents Buddy Miller employs from time to time.
I have, I think, four or five ID albums.  The first two or three are very good and I enjoy them immensely.  "Sing The Delta" is lame, imo.  Material-wise, I think she started to run out of gas after the third rekkid.  Love her voice and style, though.
As for her politics, while acknowledging her right to express her views on that or any subject, I think it is sometimes very unwise for artists to do so...unless they just don't care if they alienate a large chunk of their audience.
Thanks, boothroyd, both McKee and McKay are new to me, and in my wheelhouse -- definitely will do some listening!
McKay's cover of Tear Stained Eye, very nice -- threads the similar enough/different enough needle that makes for a good cover (fun topic in itself, btw).
Sorry if I hijacked! Not meant to take away from Iris Dement!! There is just so much good talent out there. Growing up in Houston as a frequent flyer to
I’ve been forever ruined. I think Steve Earl said it best 😉