Golly, I love Iris DeMent --- even though I'd kind of forgotten that. This happens as you get older. But I've just pulled out all her CDs and there'll be a little reunion concert down here in the hills today. How could you not love that gorgeous clear voice? (OK, maybe you have like "old" country, edging into to folk, to really fall in love.)
If you sit through the closing credits of the Coen brothers' remake of "True Grit" you can hear Iris's version of the old Gospel classic, "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," and decide for yourself. Or you can poke the "play" button here and listen right now.
I got hooked on Iris when her first album, "Infamous Angel," was released in 1993. "My Life" followed in 1994 and "The Way I Should," in 1996. She hit a rough patch involving depression, etc., after that and didn't come back to recording until "Lifeline," a gospel mix, in 2004.
The frosting on the cake is that Iris is now a southern Iowa girl, having married our own folk troubadour, Wapello County native Greg Brown. I can't keep track of where everyone lives, you know, but believe the couple spend much of their time down near Eldon, southeast of Ottumwa.
I first heard Greg far too many years ago, now, not long after he returned to Iowa and to make ends meet went to work as a "resident artist," touring Iowa schools.
I'd have a hard time picking my favorite Iris song, but "Let the Mystery Be" comes close. Here it is: