December 21, 2010 – 3:53 am

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Honest Bittersweet Reflections [no label, 1CD]

Live at the Cactus Cafe, Austin, Texas, USA; September 18, 1994. Ex FM stereo.

A radio show for Iris DeMent to showcase her then new album, My Life. She’s lively, communicating easily with the audience and she seems to enjoy performing. Performed live and solo, her songs reach a level of intimacy not matched on the albums. This is especially so for the five songs from her album My Life.

Like Gillian Welch, DeMent is a post-baby boomer, born in the ’60s. She would record another album two years later in 1996, then hibernate till 2004.

Her career can be summed up in one paragraph, courtesy of wikipedia:

Her first album, Infamous Angel, was released in 1992 and explored themes like religious skepticism, living in a small town, lamenting “nothing good ever lasts”, and forgiving human frailty. Her song, “Let the Mystery Be”, from that album has been covered by a number of artists, including 10,000 Maniacs and Alice Stuart, and has become one of DeMent’s better known compositions. In her second album, My Life, released in 1994, she continued the personal and introspective approach. My Life was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Contemporary Folk Album category. DeMent’s third album, The Way I Should, was released in 1996. Featuring the protest song “Wasteland of the Free,” it is DeMent’s most political work, and covers topics like sexual abuse, religion, government policy, and Vietnam. After a hiatus during the late 1990s and early 2000s, she released her fourth album, Lifeline, in 2004.

DeMent’s recording career remains in limbo. She has not released any music since 2004. To quote her, “let the mystery be” but it will be our loss. Thankfully, DeMent’s still touring.

The title of this bootleg comes from the radio announcer who describes DeMent’s music as “honest, bittersweet reflections”. How true, that truth is seldom sweet.
- The Little Chicken

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. The Shores Of Jordan* (6.7MB)
Track 02. These Hills** (6.9MB)
Track 03. You’ve Done Nothing Wrong* (7.0MB)
Track 04. Infamous Angel** (6.3MB)
Track 05. Let The Mystery Be** (4.5MB)
Track 06. Walking Home+ (11.2MB)
Track 07. Hotter Than The Mojave In My Heart** (4.1MB)
Track 08. Easy’s Getting Harder Every Day* (8.9MB)
Track 09. Childhood Memories* (8.9MB)
Track 10. No Time To Cry* (10.7MB)
Track 11. My French Boy (7.8MB)
Track 12. Our Town** (11.4MB)

* from her 1994 sophomore album My Life.
** from her 1992 debut album Infamous Angel.
+ from her third album, 1996’s The Way I Should.


Get the original studio versions of these songs on her albums My Life and Infamous Angel. Both are passionate kisses to country music. Click on the link to order Iris DeMent’s albums.

  1. 7 Responses to “IRIS DeMENT - AUSTIN 1994”

  2. I got this off the internet a few year back and it listed as recorded 09/18/1993

    Iris DeMent
    The Cactus Cafe, University of Texas, Austin, TX
    September 18th 1993

    01 Intro /Shores Of Jordan
    02 These Hills
    03 You’ve Done Nothing Wrong
    04 Infamous Angel
    05 Let The Mystery Be
    06 Walkin’ Home
    07 Hotter Than Mojave In My Heart
    08 Easy’s Getting Harder Every Day
    09 Childhood Memories
    10 No Time To Cry
    11 Je Besoin De Mon Garcon Francais (I Need My French Boy)
    12 Our Town

    Complete FM Broadcast

    By cowgill on Dec 21, 2010

  3. Thank you. This is really great. I’ve never managed to see her perform live, so it’s nice to hear this.

    By Paul on Dec 21, 2010

  4. I’ll second Paul’s comment. I’ve bought all Iris’s albums off iTunes, but it’s nice to hear her talk too.

    By Geoff Taylor on Dec 21, 2010

  5. A few more of Iris’ concerts are available for download here.

    mp3 format:

    flac format (lossless):

    Paul R.

    By Paul Regan on Dec 21, 2010

  6. cowgil, the announcer gives the date of the Cactus Cafe broadcast at the end of track 12 as September 18, 1994. The various artwork accompanying the recording have the same date.
    Despite this, 1993 persists on listings and info sheets for this recording.

    By Paul R. on Dec 23, 2010


    By sluggo on Dec 24, 2010

  8. thanks…

    very nice to see Iris bumped here…

    Iris & Del are very good down to earth people…

    By Jerry's Finger on May 15, 2014

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