12 Songs, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

An Arkansas native now living in Iowa with her husband, folk musician Greg Brown, Iris DeMent is still a Southerner at her core. It's been 16 years since her last album of original material, 1996's The Way I Should. Now DeMent returns after sitting on the sidelines for the entire alt-country explosion, which her music surely inspired. Her songs have an unhurried, timeless quality that adhere to no premeditated schedule. "Go on Ahead and Go Home" starts at the piano with just a New Orleans–inspired lick and DeMent's gospel best waiting on the band that slowly joins her until even a Hammond organ takes a quick solo. However, it isn't long before DeMent slows down for the mournful "Before the Colors Fade." The upbeat "The Night I Learned How Not to Pray" highlights the shaking of faith in a young girl who watches her young brother pass away despite the prayers. "Makin' My Way Back Home" offers a subtle execution of classic country. Co-producers Bo Ramsey and Richard Bennett coax great performances and provide steady but never heavyhanded guidance and comfort.

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

An Arkansas native now living in Iowa with her husband, folk musician Greg Brown, Iris DeMent is still a Southerner at her core. It's been 16 years since her last album of original material, 1996's The Way I Should. Now DeMent returns after sitting on the sidelines for the entire alt-country explosion, which her music surely inspired. Her songs have an unhurried, timeless quality that adhere to no premeditated schedule. "Go on Ahead and Go Home" starts at the piano with just a New Orleans–inspired lick and DeMent's gospel best waiting on the band that slowly joins her until even a Hammond organ takes a quick solo. However, it isn't long before DeMent slows down for the mournful "Before the Colors Fade." The upbeat "The Night I Learned How Not to Pray" highlights the shaking of faith in a young girl who watches her young brother pass away despite the prayers. "Makin' My Way Back Home" offers a subtle execution of classic country. Co-producers Bo Ramsey and Richard Bennett coax great performances and provide steady but never heavyhanded guidance and comfort.

Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.1 out of 5

83 Ratings

83 Ratings

Iris is back!!!

Beachreader2

Oh, it's been far too long since Iris Dement's last CD of original tunes. And I can tell you I can tell you it's been worth the wait. Although most of the songs heard have been those concert goers have heard for years they sound fresh and new with the background accompaniment. One of my favorites is poignant song, That's How I Learned How Not to Pray. This is an altogether Outstanding CD which will please her legions of fans and garner many more.

Lovin Iris!

Claire Aloha

I am not a fan of counry music, but just like Willie Nelson, Iris has something that just draws you in! Keep singing girl!!

Best of 2012

BillyC54

This is the best country album of 2012 and without a doubt one of the finest collections in any genre this year. Timeless and hearbreakingly honest, Iris Dement has made her masterpiece. This ranks with the best of Loretta Lynn, Hazel Dickens, Tammy Wynette, and anyone else you can name.

About Iris DeMent

One of the most celebrated country-folk performers of her day, singer/songwriter Iris DeMent was born on January 5, 1961, in rural Paragould, Arkansas, the youngest of 14 children. At the age of three, her devoutly religious family moved to California, where she grew up singing gospel music; during her teenaged years, however, she was first exposed to country, folk, and R&B, drawing influence from Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell. Upon graduating high school, she relocated to Kansas City to attend college.

After a series of jobs waitressing and typing, DeMent first began composing songs at the age of 25. Honing her skills at open-mike nights, she moved to Nashville in 1988, where she contacted producer Jim Rooney, who helped her land a record contract. DeMent did not make her recording debut until 1992, when her independent label offering, Infamous Angel, won almost universal acclaim thanks to her pure, evocative vocal style and spare, heartfelt songcraft. Despite a complete lack of support from country radio, the record's word-of-mouth praise earned her a deal with Warner Bros., which reissued Infamous Angel in 1993 as well as its follow-up, 1994's stunning My Life.

Her third LP, 1996's eclectic The Way I Should, marked a dramatic change not only in its more rock-influenced sound but also in its subject matter; where DeMent's prior work was introspective and deeply personal, The Way I Should was fiercely political, tackling topics like sexual abuse, religion, government policy, and Vietnam. In 1999, she collaborated with countryman John Prine on his album In Spite of Ourselves. DeMent recorded four duets with Prine that earned her a Grammy nod the following year. Her own recording career was on hiatus in the late '90s and early 2000s, but she returned in 2005 with Lifeline, a collection of gospel hymns. Released in 2012, Sing the Delta, her first album of original songs in 16 years, found her working again within the sparse and emotional quilt of her earlier releases. Dement returned three years later with 2015's The Trackless Woods, a collection of poems by 20th century Russian poet Anna Akhmatova adapted to music. ~ Jason Ankeny

  • ORIGIN
    Paragould, AR
  • GENRE
    Country
  • BORN
    January 5, 1961

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