Happy Birthday, Irma!

Irma Thomas celebrates her 81st birthday today. As one of the most enduring artists of the soul music era, Irma has the rare ability bring each listener deep into the feeling of each song she sings, with a voice as warm as she is herself. There is an immediacy to her recordings, because no matter how much time she has spend preparing for a session, she stays in the moment once the tape starts rolling, giving her all — it’s no surprise that her best vocals on record are often single take performances. We’ve known one another and worked together for almost forty years now, and if that seems like a really long time, it’s been such a pleasure that it seems like no time at all. It is wonderful to see her Irma, My Life in Music documentary showing on PBS stations throughout the country, and to see the article on her in Wednesday’s New York Times. Happy Birthday! (photo by Barbara Roberds)

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