Garth Hewitt - Against The Grain: Choices On A Journey With Justice

Published Wednesday 8th August 2018
Garth Hewitt - Against The Grain: Choices On A Journey With Justice
Garth Hewitt - Against The Grain: Choices On A Journey With Justice

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 171149-26974
LABEL: Ginger Dog
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1

Reviewed by John Cheek

This two-disc, 31-song compilation offers an excellent overview of the veteran's decades-long ministry and also features a handful of previously-unreleased tracks. Such is the length of Garth's discography that there were bound to be a few omissions. Notable tracks like "Blood Brothers" and "Dance On Injustice" are absent here. However, the listener gets the feeling that a broad overview of a career has been preferred to a 'Greatest Hits'-type package and the two new songs, along with some demo versions of others, mean that even a Hewitt completist will find this excellent value. Those who have perhaps previously given Hewitt a wide-berth have occasionally claimed that the man's music is not sufficiently "Christian", or is too "liberal". Yet here we have a performer who is as Christian and as prophetic as anything you're likely to hear - someone whose lyrical approaches cover the theological, the devotional and the evangelistic as effectively as anyone. Genres are mixed, too, covering country, blues and protest: interesting is the fact that Hewitt probably sounded highly contemporary at many stages of his career. For example, "Alien Brain" from 1985 is reminiscent of Madness and Hazel O'Connor, both critically - and commercially - successful back then. Musicians like Pete Banks and Paul 'Prof' McDowell help ensure that the musicianship, as well as the lyrics, remain exceptional quality. "I Will Return" with Chris Barber, at the start of Garth's recording-career, with a Bix Beiderbeck reference, was a brave attempt at trad jazz and one which works. As does the straight-forward agitprop numbers, notably the demo version of the chilling "We Don't Do Body Counts" which challenges the listener to consider our own morality, values, responsibilities and how we view God and others.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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