Iris DeMent

By the standards of most contemporary performers, Iris DeMent works largely off the grid. She doesn't even have a MySpace page, and her official website,, is apparently dead. Not that modern technology has ever been her raison d'être. Her first album, 1992's Infamous Angel, was a stunning original folk collection that earned her a record deal with Warner Bros. Unfortunately, critical raves failed to supercharge sales of 1994's My Life, her first album for the imprint, and her next disc, 1996's The Way I Should, was seen as a commercial compromise despite featuring material like "Letter to Mom," about a woman revealing that she'd been raped by her mother's boyfriend at age ten. DeMent's had a considerably lower profile since then, making her last new recording back in 2004. But she needn't worry about contemporaneity. Her best music is timeless — the kind of material that sounds better played live in an intimate room than on an MP3.


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