An Arkansas native now living in Iowa with her husband, folk musician Greg Brown, Iris DeMent is still a Southerner at her core. It's been 16 years since her last album of original material, 1996's The Way I Should. Now DeMent returns after sitting on the sidelines for the entire alt-country explosion, which her music surely inspired. Her songs have an unhurried, timeless quality that adhere to no premeditated schedule. "Go on Ahead and Go Home" starts at the piano with just a New Orleans–inspired lick and DeMent's gospel best waiting on the band that slowly joins her until even a Hammond organ takes a quick solo. However, it isn't long before DeMent slows down for the mournful "Before the Colors Fade." The upbeat "The Night I Learned How Not to Pray" highlights the shaking of faith in a young girl who watches her young brother pass away despite the prayers. "Makin' My Way Back Home" offers a subtle execution of classic country. Co-producers Bo Ramsey and Richard Bennett coax great performances and provide steady but never heavyhanded guidance and comfort.