Wednesday, February 07, 2007
7 February 2007. Layers of gray cloud packed in like sturgeon sidings--trunks and gullies. Silver light hovering too. Three sea gulls--tiny against distant sky, heading inland before the rain. One or two drops--a herald... Last night: Iris DeMent's story again--her family's farm, a generation back, on the St. Francis River in northeastern Arkansas. Cypress trees, black locust, tupelo and floating willow--Dawidoff knows all their names--nearby the Cherokee Trail of Tears... A small hand-made barge, ferrying long sacks of cotton to the far shore, then by wagon to the gin... "..."What she heard her mother sing moved her in ways she wasn't prepared to explain... 'I'm so wrapped up in these sounds,' she says. 'It's more than music to me. It's a kind of place. I know about these songs. It's music where people are sitting and writing about life, the things they're struggling with and the hard times. They're about tryin' to get through life and hope for the future...'"