Garth Hewitt - Lonesome Troubadour

Thursday 1st August 1991
Garth Hewitt - Lonesome Troubadour
Garth Hewitt - Lonesome Troubadour

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
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.

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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