Originally Posted by sasja
Yes, and yes, and indeedy yes.
Here’s my contribution to an article of reviews of each track on DeMent’s Sing the Delta
"The Kingdom Has Already Come"
On "The Kingdom Has Already Come," Iris DeMent applies the song title's Christian truth to life's ambiguities and America's struggles. In the liner notes ofSing the Delta, DeMent tells of a transformative period in her life that provides context for "TKHAC": There's this church in Kansas City I took to frequenting when I lived there. An inner-city church, filled with folks mostly of African-American descent. They took me in and got me through a dark stretch of time. DeMent's "dark stretch" means questioning the very faith that provides the community (church) and ritual (prayer) that sustains her. In "TKHAC," DeMent describes the experience of the Kansas City church as giving her the strength "to pull back the curtain old fears had drawn." She returns to this image on "There's a Whole Lotta Heaven" ("If you pull back the curtain, little diamonds will appear"). Going beyond divisions ("fears")—the illusory "curtain"—DeMent recognizes "the Kingdom" in shared humanity. Doubting Iris finds evidence of the validity of Christian ritual in secular locations. Watching from her stifling hotel in "TKHAC," she sees the Kansas City children cooling off in the spray of a fire hydrant: "baptizing their bodies right there in the street." Similarly, in "The Night I Learned How Not to Pray," DeMent releases pent-up pain—by praying, essentially—telling a photo of her brother about how his death caused her to lose faith in prayer. DeMent's sensitivity is also the essence of her doubt: her moral outrage at the hardships suffered by innocents. Such stories also attest to human perseverance—which a tree personifies for her in the chorus of "TKHAC" ("It sings when the wind blows"). DeMent's musings on nature represent her interior emotions. On "Mornin' Glory," DeMent takes respite from the stress of the mundane in her "garden of dreams"—the sublime in nature conveying a primal longing for a paradise that lies beyond the "curtain." Consequently, her reflections on natural phenomena constitute social-spiritual insight. As the personal-political dynamic of "TKHAC" demonstrates, Sing the Delta expresses the full range of DeMent's sensibility (from desolation to faith) as well as the universality of those experiences. The album begins with the death of death ("Go on Ahead and Go Home") and ends with "a fate worse than death" ("Out of the Fire"—a career pinnacle). These twin realities of post-Christian consciousness engender the radical compassion expressed on "TKHAC": "If this will be loved and that will be hated / The soul is left to struggle segregated." —John Demetry