“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. Grounded in hymns, early country songs, gospel and folk, DeMent’s work is treasured by those who know it for its insight and unabashed beauty.” – NPR
Iris DeMent began writing songs at the age of 25. Beginning with her 1992 debut, Infamous Angel, which was hailed as “an essential album of the 1990’s” by Rolling Stone, DeMent released a series of stellar records that established her as “one of the finest singer-songwriters in America” according to The Guardian. The music earned her multiple Grammy nominations, as well as the respect of peers like John Prine, Steve Earle, and Emmylou Harris, who all invited her to collaborate. Merle Haggard dubbed her “the best singer I’ve ever heard” and asked her to join his touring band, and David Byrne and Natalie Merchant famously covered her “Let The Mystery Be” as a duet on MTV Unplugged. Her song “Our Town” is often immediately recognized as the song from the closing credits of Northern Exposure and “Let The Mystery Be” was featured in the opening scenes of the film Little Buddhaand then became the theme for the opening credits of the HBO series, The Leftovers. In 2012, DeMent released the album, Sing The Delta, which prompted NPR to call her “one of the great voices in contemporary popular music” and The Boston Globe to hail the collection as “a work of rare, unvarnished grace and power.”
DeMent recently released her sixth album, The Trackless Woods, an album that sets the words of Russian poet Anna Akhmatova to music. She was also honored with the Americana Music Association’s 2017 “Americana Trailblazer Award” for her tenacity in forging her own path in the music industry.
Hailed as a “self-styled poetess, folk goddess and country waif” by the BBC, Pieta Brown first came to international attention with her 2002 self-titled debut. Pieta has since been recognized by NPR for her “moody, ethereal” songwriting, applauded by The Boston Globe for her “mercurial voice” and has continued to gain wide-spread critical attention for both her singing and songwriting with each release. Wall Street Journal, American Songwriter, and Amazon have all included her albums in year-end, ‘best-of’ picks. And along the way she has shared stages with everyone from Emmylou Harris and JJ Cale to Neko Case and Richard Thompson, in addition to performing at major festivals like Bonnaroo and Mountain Jam. But maybe even more importantly, to a fiercely independent artist like Pieta, she has received praise and support from many of her fellow artists and mentors – Justin Vernon, Iris Dement, Mark Knopfler, Amos Lee, producer Don Was, and film-maker Wim Wenders to name a few.