Music In My Painting: Collaborating with Iris DeMent

I grew up in a small town in south Alabama.  I do love that place and have enjoyed visiting it in all the decades since I left Alabama to live "up north" in Washington, DC and other east coast cities.  All through my teens, like many young folks in small towns, I was obsessed with getting outta there!  I was determined to get out into the big wide world, have some adventures and make a life unlike anything I then knew.  

Fast forward, and I have done all that.  I am glad I did.  But I have a fondness for my hometown that teenage me never would have imagined , and I love my visits home now as one can only enjoy a place from the perspective of having left a place and returned to reflect on what it has meant to you.  

For these reasons,  Iris DeMent's song Infamous Angel has become a sort of autobiographical anthem for me.  I feel certain that the young Iris DeMent had the urge to see bigger things but at the same time loves her roots in a small southern place too.  So I relate with her so strongly!  Her song "Infamous Angel" is about a girl grabbing her chance to get out of a small town fast, and I love it.  Angel is leaving home but also recognizes her true home lies elsewhere, but she knows not where.  She has to find her Destination:  Home.  Here are the lyrics:

Last night before I went to sleep,My knees dropped to the floor.I turned me eyes up to the sky,And I prayed: "Please help me, Lord."You know I've sowed my wild oats,"And now the fun's all gone."And then I heard these tender words,
"Infamous Angel, come on home,"To someone who loves you,"And knows you needed to roam."Grab your things, a ticket's waiting,"At the bus depot:"For: 'Infamous Angel, Destination: Home'."
I heard Heaven's rejoicing,As the tears broke from my eyes.And all at once it lifted,The weight from my past life.I found a pen and I left a note,On the dresser drawer:"Infamous Angel: she don't live here anymore."
"Infamous Angel, come on home,"To someone who loves you,"And knows you needed to roam."Grab your things, a ticket's waiting,"At the bus depot:"For: 'Infamous Angel, Destination: Home'."
Instrumental Break.
Then I hurried out the back door,As quickly as I could.I went flying down two flights of stairs,'Til on the street I stood.And there I took that final look,At my old neighbourhood.Then I ran down the street proclaiming:"Angel: gone for good."
Infamous Angel, going home,To someone who loves her,And knows she needed to roam.She grabbed her things and claimed the ticket,At the bus depot:For: "Infamous Angel, Destination: Home.""Infamous Angel, Destination: Home."

While working on a slew of exploratory works on paper one day in the spring of 2022, this song came on in the studio.  One of those works on paper became my "self-portrait" of sorts, entitled Infamous Angel.  Inspiration came from DeMent's song and also an image of a crowned and winged figure that I found over lunch, leafing through some works by Romare Bearden.  Here's my Infamous Angel.

A few days later I was working on another batch of works on paper and this image emerged.  For me it is a winged figure rising up from a tangled surface of plants in a strange landscape.  I feel those plants must be kudzu, an invasive fast-growing vine that blankets areas of the South and can cover whole houses and forests in its path.  In any event, I recognized this image as another version of the infamous angel leaving home.  It was now clear this image might well be recurring in future work, and I welcome this possibility!

Infamous Angel is not for sale.  Destination: Home is Available in my online Shop which you can visit by clicking here: