Iris Dement Still Sings
In Her Mama's Opry

BY TERRY ROLAND

irisdement.jpgWith a woman it's all one flow, like a stream, little eddies, little waterfalls, but the river it goes right on. A woman looks at it like that. -Ma Joad in John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath

Who can say just how songs and the love of music are passed along from generation to generation? This may be a rhetorical question, but the answer just may be found in the persevering flow of the spirit of the mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and lovers in all of our lives for generations. In the earliest time of Americana culture stories and songs were as much a part of the family as Sunday dinner and church gatherings. When the modern era came along, we lost such traditions to radio, the long playing record, and celebrity culture. Often, in the past, it was the role of mother to keep this tradition alive and in so doing, she kept her own spirit alive as well. Tin Pan Alley and the Hit Parade ended this important part of an American and, in many ways, an ancient tradition.

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