Album: Iris DeMent, Sing the Delta (Flariella)

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The Independent Culture

There are moments on DeMent's first album of new material in 16 years when you wonder if the wait was worth it.

The youngest of 14 children born to a Pentecostal household, her voice – once as clear and true as an Arkansas church bell – has thickened, and there's a professionalism here that sometimes threatens blandness. But on the title track and "Out of the Fire", DeMent cuts through the sheen with a simplicity that reaches back through decades.