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Iris DeMent

"Iris DeMent makes music that celebrates humanity's efforts toward salvation, while acknowledging that most of our time on Earth is spent reconciling with the fact that we don't feel so redeemed." —NPR Music

OA logo7:00 PM—The Oxford American is excited to welcome Arkansas-native Iris DeMent to the South on Main stage! This is a special addition to the OA’s 2017-18 Concert Series. Doors open at 5:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.


Born in Arkansas, Iris DeMent grew up immersed in gospel music and traditional country. Her first release, Infamous Angel, initially issued on Rounder in 1992 immediately established her as a promising and talented artist. Its 1994 follow-up, My Life, earned a GRAMMY nomination in the Contemporary Folk category. Her 1996 album The Way I Should addressed political as well as personal themes and earned a GRAMMY nomination, as well.

Throughout the years, several of DeMent’s songs became cultural touchstones. “Let The Mystery Be” found its way to the stage of MTV Unplugged as a duet by David Byrne and Natalie Merchant. “Our Town” was played over the farewell scene in the series finale of Northern Exposure. Merle Haggard, who said of DeMent, “She’s the best singer I’ve ever heard,” invited her to sit in as his piano player touring with his legendary band The Strangers. He subsequently covered two of her songs “No Time To Cry” and the gospel-tinged “The Shores of Jordan.”

In 2012, she released Sing The Delta. The work presents twelve self-penned compositions from an artist whose first three albums established her as one of the most beloved and respected writers and singers in American music. And in 2015, DeMent released her sixth studio record entitled The Trackless Woods, which is inspired by the work of Russian author Anna Akhmatova. The album puts Akhmatova’s poetry to music and, in doing so, links the author’s two worlds—Russian and American.