Iris DeMent hasn't merely been to this Elysian prairie; she was born there, and the flawless diamond that is her voice brings all the pristine beauty of an unmarred heartland straight to the ears. Since the 1992 release of her Infamous Angel full-length, she's continually demonstrated the power of simplicity in her approach to songwriting, creating poignant country-folk that leaves you feeling somehow more alive (if a little sad). When lyrics of such direct potency are propelled by a voice like DeMent's, there's a wonderful symbiosis that occurs between song and singer, each lifting the other to heights otherwise unattainable. She vocalizes with all the honesty of a child in a voice that couldn't possibly be more open, physically or emotionally. It's a powerful instrument on a few levels, and fans of great singing would do well to experience its precision and crystalline density firsthand.