(Part 4 of an ongoing series)
Though it’s a bit of a stretch, I like to imagine Iris DeMent singing this song from a rocking chair on her front porch as she watches the apocalypse unfold before her very eyes. The reason she sounds only a little sentimental but mostly stoic is because she only had a half-hearted attachment to the hometown/world that’s currently being annihilated by the Lord’s wrath. Also because she knows she’s one of the saved, despite the fact that she seems to be an agnostic, at least according to her song “Let The Mystery Be.” Maybe because I’m an agnostic myself, I like to think that if there is a God, it actually favors the agnostics over the gung-ho true believers (and especially over the evangelical atheists). I envision God, if it exists, not unlike Groucho Marx, in that it wouldn’t want to have any worshipers that would worship a God like itself.
Now even though “Our Town” isn’t really an apocalyptic song, it does pencil in a couple shades of darkness beneath those wistful slide guitars and the Small Town, U.S.A. nostalgia. Ms. DeMent frequently reminds us that “nothing good ever lasts,” and that our hearts are “bound to die.” Yet she sings it all with that golden voice of hers: youthful yet wise, sweet but not sappy. The first time I heard this song I had to listen to it again and again for like 100 times over the course of several days, partly because of the melody but mostly because of the voice. I need that voice with me in the Post-Apocalypse, to lullaby me to sleep when I’m weary and scared and in need of reassurance.
Approx. 5 minutes; 7,977 minutes left on the iPod