Saturday, July 27, 2013
“Iris DeMent is a natural addition to the Folk Fest Family. Having collaborated with EmmyLou Harris, Delbert McClinton, and Randy Scruggs – to folk-hero namedrop – DeMent should be right at home if, say, all of Spirit Family Reunion hops onstage with her for an impromptu singalong. In the age of autotune, where synthetic musical fads come and go and inevitably become dated, DeMent’s straightforward, unaffected voice reminds one of how effective traditional country folk will remain classic, untarnished, no matter what. But that is not to call DeMent simple in the least. She looks at woe unflinchingly and her sweet voice lends a wistful ache to the American tableau her songwriting paints on songs like ‘Our Town’ and ‘I’ll Take My Sorrows Straight.’ Though don’t try to nail her down as a preacher of sadness, as DeMent as quicklys turn around and sings about undies-sniffing on the irrevocably charming ‘In Spite of Ourselves” with John Prine.’
Armed with that voice and a guitar, DeMent’s music inspirits us to move through and appreciate both life’s great moments and tragedies. Through her folk-country songs we feel a connection to the past while realizing that, in fact, her brand of music, and the way it buoys our hearts, is timeless.
Come be charmed (and maybe shed a tear) as DeMent’s voice rings out over the harbor at Fort Adams State Park and begs you to pull closer to your Newport Folk Family. In the words of Woody Guthrie, ‘this machine kills fascists.’”
– Jenn Sutkowski
writes about music, film and pop culture for the Newport Mercury
Artists and schedule are subject to change.