Iris Luella DeMent
* 05. Jan. 1961 in Paragould, Arkansas
Instr.: Gitarre, Piano
Stil : Folk-Country
DeMent's songs are typically simple, clearly told stories about life's pains and joys.
Her first album, Infamous Angel, was released in 1992 and explored themes like religious skepticism, living in a small town, lamenting "nothing good ever lasts", and forgiving human frailty. Her song "Let the Mystery Be" from that album has been covered by a number of artists, including 10,000 Maniacs and Alice Stuart, and has become one of DeMent's better known compositions. In her second album, My Life, released in 1994, she continued the personal and introspective approach. My Life was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Contemporary Folk Album category. DeMent's third album, The Way I Should, was released in 1996. Featuring the protest song "Wasteland of the Free," it is DeMent's most political work, and covers topics like sexual abuse, religion, government policy, and Vietnam. After a hiatus during the late 1990s and early 2000s, she released her fourth album, Lifeline, in 2004.
She gained some notice singing the Merle Haggard song, "Big City", on Tulare Dust: Tribute to Merle Haggard, a 1994 various artists tribute album. In 1995, her song "Our Town" was played in the closing moments of the last episode for the popular CBS TV series Northern Exposure, gaining DeMent more fans. (The song has also been recorded by Kate Rusby, Jody Stecher, and Kate Brislin.)
DeMent has sung duets with John Prine (on In Spite of Ourselves), Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris and is featured on the albums of many other performers. She has made frequent appearances on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, and appeared in the 2000 film Songcatcher, playing the character Rose Gentry and singing on the soundtrack as well. In 1994, Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs performed DeMent's song "Let the Mystery Be" with David Byrne for the show MTV Unplugged. The song was included on Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure and Unknown Recordings.