S2E11 Infamous Angel

“Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from”

This week’s episode once again finds us exploring the Americana genre, this time with our first look at a female artist.

Iris DeMent is a two time Grammy nominee signer-songwriter. Her musical stylings incorporate elements of folk, country and gospel.

“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

On this episode, we discuss her first album, Infamous Angel, which was released in 1992 on the Rounder-Philo label and explored such themes as religious skepticism, small-town life, and human frailty.

DeMent was inspired to write her first song “Our Town” by a drive through a boarded-up Midwest town, at the age of 25. The song lyrics came to her “exactly as it is now”, without need for re-writing, and she realized then that songwriting was her calling in life. “Our Town” was played during the closing scene for the final episode (July 26, 1995) of CBS’s television series Northern Exposure. “Let the Mystery Be” was used in the opening scenes of the film Little Buddha. In the fall of 2015, a version of “Let the Mystery Be” from the Transatlantic Sessions became the musical theme for the opening credits of the HBO series The Leftovers, replacing the original “Main Title Theme” composed by Max Ritcher, and it would once again serve as the opening theme for the series finale.

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