STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 3889-620 LABEL: MYRC MYRCD1279 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £12.49
Reviewed by James Attlee
Garth Hewitt - radical roots performer or archetypal trendy vicar? I have to admit to having avoided Garth's output before as I had him pegged as one of those acoustic balladeers who tackle global issues in the cringe-makingly intimate environment of your local church hall. You know the kind of thing - an "outreach to the kids" that's about as relevant to the local posse as a West Indian basket-weaving course. Wrong again James. I actually found this album, by one of British CCM's founding fathers, refreshing in many ways. You won't find any navel-gazing laments about this songwriter's spiritual struggle here; rather the songs focus on the plight of those around the world not usually the subject of love songs - the dispossessed, the rubbish-tip scavengers, the street children of Brazil, the Palestinians denied human rights. Recording the album in America with multi-talented Mark Heard in the producer's seat was a good move. He also contributes guitar, dulcimer-guitar, accordion, mandolin and autoharp which together with Byron Berline's fiddle and Hewitt's Dylanesque vocals and harmonica interjections give the whole thing a feel of Desire-era Zimmerman, which can't be bad. Lyrically, the album is a consistent plea for justice and for Christians to take to heart the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:40. In this age of health and wealth teaching and charismatic empire-building, when so many in the church seem to think that "politics" is a dirty word, the reminder is much needed. If sometimes he misses the mark in his attempt to express so much suffering and need in the restrictive confines of a song-structure I'm glad at least here's someone out there trying.
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