Style: Earthen country-folk; compare to Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris
Top tracks: "Sing the Delta," "There's a Whole Lotta Heaven," "Livin' on the Inside"
It's been 16 years since the country-folk groundbreaker released original material. Now she delivers a heartbreakingly inspired collection rooted in hardscrabble emotional topography. DeMent's vocals fall between the country and western twang of Loretta Lynn and the gravel of Lucinda Williams. Her piano evokes country churches, gospel choirs, and bluesy backwaters but sometimes strays saloon-like. Still DeMent's plainspoken poetry makes us want to believe when she sings "I stopped in the church to pray / And I don't even know if I believe in God / But I laid my soul on the table / And left that place believing I was able" ("The Kingdom Has Already Come").1