13 Songs, 52 Minutes


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

34 Ratings

34 Ratings

Iris is wonderful, as usual


Few singers can so honestly find and lay bare the emotional core of a song as Iris Dement can. Her strong yet sometimes wavery voice cuts through all artifice, and what is left is so real that it can be painful to hear. I'm a tough guy, but she can reduce me to blubber in seconds. Some Iris fans might shy away from "Lifeline" because of its apparent religious themes and content, but there is little dogma or proselytizing here. In fact, I believe that it is the hard core Christian, hoping for the usual reassurances about how "saved" they are, are more likely to be disappointed than the average listener. For the most part these songs, as delivered by Iris, are complex and nuanced, based in a common human need to make a spiritual connection to the universe. This probing reaches its zenith on "Sweet Hour of Prayer," a deeply moving song in which Iris explores almost every angle of that age old question "Why am I here?" Her performance of the song is a soliloquy of astonishing power. Bottom line, don't let the religion scare you away. I'm an agnostic, but after listening to this album several times it has become one of my favorite Iris records.

Iris is so amazing. Lifeline is her best work.

Black Laptop Family Room,

I can't get enough of this woman's voice. It has so much character. It tells stories as clearly as her lyrics do. Lifeline is so refreshing. She has gone back to old-time gospel, the root of folk music. She has made all of these songs listenable by adding her tremendous voice to their lyrics. Highly, highly recommended.



I am a very conservative Christian and this album brings back so many memories of the music I knew as a child. Her voice is so haunting that it almost brings me to tears when I hear these memorable songs being sung by a voice that can never be duplicated. One of a kind.

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

    Paragould, AR
  • BORN
    January 5, 1961



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