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Iris DeMent 

When: Thu., May 2, 8 p.m. 2013
Price: $25-33

Iris DeMent's 2004 gospel record Lifeline contained just one original; that song excepted, a 16-year void of new material separated DeMent's 1996 album, The Way I Should, and last year's Sing the Delta. But the passion with which the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter treats her Arkansas roots on Delta nearly matches the religious fervor of Lifeline. DeMent's soulful twang gives each word a focused intensity, breathing life into lyrics that seem more like a collection of stories from a sincere Southern author than songs. There are more gospel nods, along with colorful odes to her parents, but DeMent is at her most captivating on "The Night I Learned How Not to Pray," in which the tale of a young sibling's death accompanies an upbeat tune that belies its tragic nature. —Spencer Griffith

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