By Lauren Wise
By New Times
By Amanda Savage
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Troy Farah
By New Times
By Derek Askey
"Well," she begins reluctantly, "Nashville is pretty and green." Then: "Some of [the music] I like and some I don't. I'd have to say what they play on country radio today I like less of. They had a formula that worked and sold a lot of records. So why change? Now it sounds mostly homogenized and predictable. Board meetings and committees seem to be determining what gets played. The music really takes a back seat."
DeMent despairs particularly about Nashville's disdain of "old country" stalwarts.
"Along with gospel music, I grew up listening to Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette and Merle Haggard," she says. "They have effectively been forced out of the business. It pains me to hear about the battles between young and old. It's part of the reason I choose to remain in Kansas City--I'm uncomfortable with those politics."
While the Garths and Rebas behind the Pine Curtain may not appreciate DeMent, she has earned the praise of the old guard--and those waltzing around country's periphery who continue to experiment with sound and lyric.
"It may have taken longer than most, but I decided I had to trust myself in what I was doing," says Iris DeMent. "I've found that faith.