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 Everett True

Song of the day – 509: Iris DeMent

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This song destroyed me on the bus on the way to work this morning. Tears trickling down my face, I had to bury my head in a handkerchief so people didn’t stare.

I was hoping to Jesus that this song wasn’t based on a real story. But it is. As NPR explains, “The music opens with a buoyant sound, and then you suddenly realize it’s about the death of a child.”


I was laying on my belly on the middle of the living room floor
I was watching Howdy Doody so I’m guessing it was right around four
When I saw my baby brother tumbling from the top of the stairs
He was lying a little bit silent and the blood was trickling to his tiny head


That was the night I learned how not to pray
Cos God does what God wants to anyway.

Taken from her new album Sing The Delta. As one YouTube commentator puts it: “She doesn’t shy away from the difficult, does she?”

The album version is far superior.

It was her album Infamous Angel I was listening to when I was being driven from New York City to Boston. We were hungover and late, and driving real fast. I looked up in the sky and saw this weird cloud formation in the sky – “Oh look, there’s an Angel of Death up there,” I stated, before amending it to, “I mean, a butterfly”. We were travelling fast. I discovered the following day upon my return to NYC that this musician I’d been out drinking with the night before – Charlie Ondras of Unsane – had died the exact hour or minute or something that I’d made that remark. I told this story to Iris when I interviewed her for Melody Maker a few months later. I was the first U.K. critic to talk to her: off our brief, I know, but there again we didn’t really have a brief back then. (Song of the day – 430: Iris DeMent)

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