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Focus On: Iris Dement

Iris DeMent grew up the youngest of 14 children in a very religious family. Born in rural Arkansas, her family moved to California when Iris was still a toddler. After high school, she went off to Kansas City for college and made a living waiting tables and typing. At 25, she started writing songs and taking the spotlight at open mic nights. Two years later, she moved to Nashville and landed a record contract, but (just to prove that it's never too late) she was nearly 30 before her first album, Infamous Angel, came out in 1992.

DeMent's career was built at first by word-of-mouth through listeners drawn to her unique voice and songs that touch on the trials of everyday life. As with all things business related, Warner Bros. jumped on the DeMent bandwagon as her fanbase grew, re-releasing her early albums and 1996's The Way I Should. In 1999, she released In Spite of Ourselves, dueting with the legendary John Prine and earning a Grammy nomination. Her most recent CD is Lifeline, released in 2004. DeMent is currently married to singer/songwriter Greg Brown.

(This concert was recorded, mixed and mastered by contributing producer, Jimmie Wilson.)

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Iris Dement Concert

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Iris's website

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Iris on YouTube - singing 'Our Town' with Emmylou Harris and accompanied by Jerry Douglas & Aly Bain

Iris's Tour Schedule

  (2004, Flariella Records)

The Way I Should Be
  (1996, Warner Bros.)

My Life
  (1994, Warner Bros.)

Infamous Angel
  (1993, Warner Bros.)

Shortly before I married my second wife, Genevieve Gerrior--whose father was Hank Snow's childhood friend and first fiddle player--shared Infamous Angel with me and I have enjoyed her music since. In fact I took my favorites on the road with me while I was still an over-the-road truck driver. She kept me awake at nights as I turned her up and sang along with her songs that most people could relate to! One of my favorites is "The Way I should Be" and "My Town" and "Infamous Angel." These songs really bring you home to the reality of how life really is. Her music brought me out of a slump and I started taking my guitar with me on the road and during my free time I would stop at rest stops and find a quiet place to sing my own folk and folk-rock songs. Iris, if you have the time please give them a listen and let me know what you think, okay? The words of my songs remind a lot of people of Leonard Cohen, more than anyone else. I used to perform a lot of Neil Diamond and Neil Young songs and some of my gospel songs that I have performed in church remind people of Neil Young. I don't hear that myself but if it's true I guess I'll need to change my songs as I don't want to step into someone's light that's shown so bright for years. Iris, as I continue to peruse through your site, I am hoping to find an outlet to purchase all your CDs or be able to purchase your songs and download them. Thanks again for being so real in this crazy music business. It's the writers and singers such as you that keeps us involved in the artist who create "the real music" and not by a bunch of CEOs. Thank you, Marv Donovan

Posted by Marvin Patton on July 14, 2009.
I love Iris to death. In fact, I dedicated my undergraduate creative writing thesis to her, and I remember wanting to go to this concert, but couldn't because it was literally the weekend before I had to defend said thesis and I had too much work. I really wanted to go and somehow find a way to let her know how much her music had influenced me as I was writing the novel I was using as my project. It's nice to finally, two years later, get to hear the show. What's the deal with this concert, though? The music's great, of course, but what's up with the requests for alcohol and the inappropriate yelling? Was the Beachland on crack that night? But again, I love Iris and am glad to have this recording :-)

Posted by Kori Frazier on March 03, 2009.

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