Alex Massie

Saturday Afternoon Country: Iris DeMent

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Iris DeMent has only made four albums. And since the latest, 2004's Lifeline, is a gospel record it's fair to say that she ain't on the trendy side of Nashville. In fact her style could harly be further removed from the country-pap that you hear on country radio stations and the teevee.

DeMent is proper old-school you see. Her songs are often filled with wistful sentiment and sometimes with outright melancholy in the grand old country tradition. But they're always humane and heartfelt. Plus, of course, her voice has got that terrific Ozark twang to it.

Here she is performing at a Transatlantic Session (with Emmylou on backing vocals and Aly Bain on the fiddle) and singing her lament to small town life: Our Town. You know, the one that goes like this: And you know the sun's settin' fast/ and just like they say nothing good ever lasts/ Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye but hold on to your lover/ 'cause your heart's bound to die/ Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town/ Can't you see the sun's settin' down on our town, on our town/ goodnight.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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