Iris DeMent

Iris DeMent

Jason Wilber

Fri, January 18, 2013

7:00 pm

The Sinclair

Cambridge, MA

$29.50 advance / $32 day of show

Sold Out

This event is 18 and over

Tickets available at TICKETMASTER.COM, or by phone at 800-745-3000. No service charge on tickets purchased in person at The Sinclair Box office Tuesdays-Saturdays 12-7PM, or at the Royale box office Fridays from 12-6PM.

Iris DeMent
Iris DeMent
Iris DeMent says of that elusive inspirational spark, “I didn’t know when or if I’d make another record. I gave up on trying to steer it or force it and decided to just make myself available in my heart and mind as much as I could and leave the rest up to fate.”

Sixteen years after the last collection of DeMent songs, that time has come. Sing The Delta presents twelve self-penned compositions from an artist whose first three albums established her as one of the most beloved and respected writers and singers in American music.

DeMent, the last of 14 children, born in Arkansas and raised in Southern California, grew up immersed in gospel music and traditional country. She was somewhat of a late bloomer as an artist, writing her first song at age of 25. Her first release, Infamous Angel, initially issued on Rounder in 1992 before being picked up by Warner Bros., immediately established her as a promising and talented artist. Its 1994 follow-up, My Life, earned a Grammy nomination in the Contemporary Folk category. Her 1996 album The Way I Should addressed political as well as personal themes and earned a Grammy nomination, as well.

Along the way, several of DeMent’s songs became cultural touchstones. “Let The Mystery Be” found its way to MTV Unplugged as a duet by David Byrne and Natalie Merchant. “Our Town” was played over the farewell scene in the series finale of Northern Exposure. Merle Haggard, who said of DeMent, “She’s the best singer I’ve ever heard,” invited her to sit in as his piano player touring with his legendary band The Strangers. He subsequently covered two of her songs “No Time To Cry” and the gospel-tinged “The Shores of Jordan.”

DeMent remained active as an artist. She sang four duets with John Prine on In Spite of Ourselves and had a minor role in the motion picture Songcatcher as well as contributing a song to its soundtrack. She continued playing live shows and in 2004, she recorded an album of gospel songs, Lifeline, which included her rendition of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” In 2010 the Coen Brothers chose that song for the closing credits when they remade the classic western “True Grit.”

Still, DeMent never took for granted the arrival of an album’s worth of new songs. “Songs would come along here and there and I’d go out and sing them for people, but for a long time I just didn’t know what would become of any of them. Then last year, a door kinda opened up, and a handful of songs walked through and a few unfinished ones came together and I knew I had a record.”

As with Lifeline, DeMent is releasing Sing The Delta on her own label, Flariella Records. It was recorded at Richard McLaurin’s House of David studio in Nashville with co-producers Richard Bennett and Bo Ramsey, with a supporting cast that included Bryan Owings on drums, Dave Jacques on bass, Al Perkins on pedal steel and Reese Wynans on B3 organ, as well as horn players Jim Hoke and Steve Herman on a couple of numbers.

Of the time it took, DeMent says “Some of these songs I’ve had around awhile but I needed time to grow into them. I guess you could say I just wasn’t ready to deliver them in the way that they deserved. I’m glad I waited. It’s taught me to surrender…to trust the natural flow and order of things and not worry about it,” DeMent says.

It’s an instinct she’s learned to trust ever since she first sat down to write her first couple of songs at age 25 and found “Our Town” spilling out onto the page. “It was like somebody walked right into that room and said, ‘There you have it, Iris’ — I knew then and there that I had gotten my calling,” she relates. “I had always been taught in church that God, or spirit, if you will, calls us to a life work. I got mine that day. Whether I write one song a year or ten, it doesn’t matter. It’s a ‘knowing’ that I have that hasn’t left me since that day. That’s what I check in with and as long as that’s there, the rest of it doesn’t matter. The time it takes is just the time it takes."
Jason Wilber
Jason Wilber
A journeyman guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Jason Wilber has traveled the world as lead guitar player for artists like John Prine, Greg Brown, Iris DeMent, Todd Snider, and Hal Ketchum. In the insightful and sometimes humorous songs featured on his seven solo CDs he manages to meld his rock, folk, jazz, and country influences into a unique sound that's been described as "Van Morrison meets Wilco". From Carnegie Hall to Red Rocks to Massey Hall and the London Palladium, Jason's performed in all 50 States, and all over Canada, Europe, and the UK.

Jason Wilber's work with John Prine includes the Grammy Award winning CD Fair & Square, and the Grammy nominated CDs Live On Tour and In Spite of Ourselves (which spent 32 weeks on the Billboard Country Charts). John Prine's penchant for duets has put Jason in the enviable position of accompanying him on recordings with Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Josh Ritter, Patty Loveless, Iris Dement, Trisha Yearwood, and Sara Watkins. Other wonderful artists Jason has worked with live or in the studio include Tim Grimm, Krista Detor, Greg Trooper, Carrie Newcomer, Kim Fox, Bill Wilson, and Over the Rhine.

Recently, Jason co-produced the compilation CD Coal Country Music featuring Willie Nelson, Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley, Jason and the Scorchers, Kathy Mattea, Justin Townes Earle, Natalie Merchant, Diana Jones, Tom T. Hall, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, Jean Ritchie, and other artists, who all contributed their talents to benefit the Alliance for Appalachia's work to stop Mountain Top Removal in rural Appalachia.

Jason Wilber's TV and radio appearances include Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Sessions At West 54th Street, The Grand Ole Opry, Live with Regis and Kathy Lee, CNN's Entertainment Week, The Road, Mountain Stage, E-Town, Austin City Limits, and The Late Show with David Letterman
Venue Information:
The Sinclair
52 Church St
Cambridge, MA, 02138