The Old Steeple website says the Iris Dement show Sunday is “SOLD OUT” (in all caps). I’ll assume you know a little about the songwriter, but in case you don’t, we’ll start the way her website begins, with a quote from some unnamed NPR writer:
“Iris DeMent makes music that celebrates humanity’s efforts toward salvation, while acknowledging that most of our time on Earth is spent reconciling with the fact that we don’t feel so redeemed. Grounded in hymns, early country songs, gospel and folk, DeMent’s work is treasured by those who know it for its insight and unabashed beauty.” ~ NPR
Earlier this year the Americana Music Association awarded Iris a lifetime achievement award, specifically the Americana Trailblazer Award, for work spanning 25 years beginning with her debut album “Infamous Angel.” I think I first heard her when a song from that record, “Our Town,” was used on the TV show Northern Exposure.
She played at the Americana trade organization’s annual event with her old friend John Prine delivering Mr. Prine’s classic “In Spite Of Ourselves.”
What else has she been up to? Writing protest songs and doing her part for one cause after another.
I suspect it’s going to be one of those shows people will be talking about for awhile. Call 707-786-7030 if you want to get on the Old Steeple’s waiting list for Sunday’s show, or get ahold of me, since I have an extra ticket waiting for me at call waiting. (It’s not a freebie. I’m paying my way and I expect you to do the same.)
If you’re too late, you can always hear Iris’ husband, Greg Brown, on February 28th when he plays at the Old Steeple. That will be another sold out show so plan ahead. I may get a ticket tomorrow night. He’s been writing protest songs too…
Post show addendum: Someone wrote, “Everybody is wondering what or where that ticket came from?”
Well, the “ticket” was just a place on the waiting list. Last time I went a show at the Old Steeple, Paul, the owner, mentioned that there were some tickets left to Iris’ show. During intermission, I was in the Ferndale Music part of the building, where I talked briefly with the artist who was playing. When I asked the Steeple folks about the tickets, I found they’d sold them when I was talking, minutes earlier.
The woman asked if I wanted to get on the waiting list. I said sure. I was first on the list. They called me when the tix came available due to someone cancelling, then called again to remind me that the tickets would be at the door waiting.
As it turned out, I did not go to the show. My date didn’t want to go for reasons I won’t go into here, and I used this column to find someone who offered to drive us down to Ferndale. We talked that afternoon just after there was a flurry of heavy wind and rain and decided to bail on our reservations. It’s a long dark drive down there.
I called the venue and they said there were plenty of people who wanted the tix and thanked me for warning them that I wouldn’t need them. That’s probably more than you expected in answer to your question, but there you are. I missed out and stayed home and watched Mudbound on Netflix…