Iris DeMent

My Life

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Like Infamous Angel, My Life opens on a light note, which is hardly adequate preparation for the emotional turbulence that follows. The album is dedicated to Iris Dement's father, who passed away prior to its release, and although there are some scattered moments of joy here, they are largely absorbed by a collection of songs dealing with primal anguish and longing. DeMent's writing has hardened a bit, producing her most mature and encompassing song in "No Time to Cry," which serves as an anchor for the album's rich sentimentality and is also an indication, in its social obsessions, of the direction her next album would take. Elsewhere, DeMent's songcraft remains exceptional but, as before, the true magic is in her voice, which imbues even the simplest songs with perfect, pure emotion. Highlights include Maybelle Carter's "Troublesome Waters," "Easy's Gettin' Harder Every Day," and a terrific rendition of Lefty Frizzell's "Mom and Dad's Waltz." The gorgeous title track closes the album, a piano-cello duet that is one of her most moving performances. For those who appreciate DeMent's rough-hewn voice, it is nearly impossible to exaggerate the beauty of these recordings.

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