Iris Dement Brings Gospel to Life

Mixing folk and country with a heartfelt voice and delicate guitar twang, Iris Dement is set to play at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair on April 19. The intimate venue will be the perfect catalyst for the earthy and direct singer/songwriter. The proceeds of the event will go to Outpost in The Burbs to help them continue with their charity projects.

Sounds of the Delta from Iris Dement.

Iris Dement’s most recent record, Sing The Delta, came out in October 2012, and it marked the first time in eight years that she had released an album. It features 12 original tracks. Rolling Stones  said, “…these artisanal songs of love and doubt wear their homeliness proudly; the effect is like finding a bountiful farm stand in the middle of nowhere.”

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Lifeline, Iris Dement’s previous album, features the same raw honesty that fans have expected to hear from Dement. It has the same soul-baring feature as her previous works, with country gospel tunes coming straight from her heart. She says she never really tries to write an album, saying that inspiration happens when it happens, that there’s no forcing anything.

As quoted on Iris Dement’s  website, Dement says, “These songs are a spiritual thing for me. [They are] this link I have to where I come from and to my mom and dad – and to the people who came before them.”

The songs featured on the album are all gospel classics, an example of Dement honoring her early influences growing up in the delta town of Paragould, Ark. However, she does include a fresh original with the song, “He Reached Down.”

The video of that original features her on vocals and piano, Joan Osborne on harmony vocals, Bruce Molsky on harmony vocals and fiddle, Sharon Shannon on button accordion, Jerry Douglas on banjo, Aly Bain on fiddle and Todd Parks on bass. Some of Dement’s more popular songs include “Our Town”  and the title track from Sing The Delta.

Bill Brackenburg, the booking agent for Outpost in The Burbs events said, “What we like to do is support the talent of lesser known artists, but [we] don’t abandon the past, we embrace it, just as we would with fresh talent.”

The venue is close to several food places. Some stand-outs include Adara, a new age gastronomy restaurant whose chef has been featured in the New York Times, Acappello  with great Italian food in a classy environment and Mesob, an Ethiopian restaurant where you eat with your hands to enjoy traditional dishes.

You can purchase Iris Dement’s tickets for the event at Keil’s Pharmacy and Studio042 Super Business Printer, or you can purchase tickets online. Tickets are $32 in advance and $35 the day of the show. There is a paid parking let next to the venue, or you can find free parking on the street.

The next show will feature Iris Dement  at the Ephrata Main Theatre on April 18.

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