WMM Celebrates Iris DeMent

Wednesday MidDay Medley
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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Wednesday MidDay Medley Celebrates Iris DeMent

Wednesday MidDay Medley brings in the New Year with our celebration of Iris DeMent, born January 5, 1961, in rural Paragould, Arkansas. She was the youngest of 14 children. At the age of 3, her devoutly religious family moved to California, where she grew up singing gospel music. During her teenage years, Iris was exposed to country, folk, & R&B, drawing influence from Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, & Joni Mitchell.

Iris moved to the midwest and after a series of jobs as a waitress and typist, she wrote her first song at the age of 25. She moved to Kansas City and played Harling’s Upstairs and open-mic nights along side Scott Hrabko and Howard Iceberg. Iris met producer Jim Rooney in Nashville, in 1988, who helped her land a record contract.

Iris Dement made her recording debut in 1992, with her independently produced album, “Infamous Angel.” The record won critical acclaim and John Prine mentioned Iris in his list of favorite recordings of the year published in Rolling Stone. Despite a complete lack of support from country radio, the word of mouth praise for Iris DeMent’s “Infamous Angel” earned her a deal with Warner Bros Records, which reissued “Infamous Angel” in 1993. The album also included the song, “Let The Mystery Be” a composition that has also been covered by David Bryne, 10,000 Maniacs, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, Greg Brown, and it was the theme song for the second season of HBO’s The Leftovers.

We’ll feature music from Iris DeMent’s six full length albums, her contributions to film, her vast collaborative studio work with artists such as: Greg Brown, John Prine, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Tom Russell, Steve Earle, and Kansas City’s own, Gary Kirkland.

We’ll also feature music from Iris DeMent’s inspirations: Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan.

Show #818

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