Then again, there's also plenty of music available for those who believe heavily in a Christian gospel. When it comes to that side of the spectrum, Kelly Joe Phelps' particular brand of testifying-and-witnessing folk-blues is likely to resonate with the church-going crowd. Those who don't fall into that crowd may enjoy the richly intuitive, haunting, stirring melodies and impeccable guitar picking. But, frankly, the repetition of images about sinners and the cross are likely to alienate those with more universalist, humanist, or secularist beliefs.
Granted, there are a handful of tunes here which veer somewhat to a more universal message. "Pilgrim's Reach" (purchase/download) is a tune about being lost in darkness and hoping against hope to find some light in the world. Though it includes some rather blatant recommendations about finding one's way in the world only through god, much of the song may be equally as palatable to those who find the light elsewhere.
What There Is for Non-Believers
He also gives us non-thumpers a break on "Sometimes a Drifter" (purchase/download) - a tune (presumably) about Jesus, the human, and the lessons we can learn from exploring our existence through gratitude and keeping the faith. Unfortunately, it's the most musically uneventful moment on the disc. "Hard Time They Never Go Away" (purchase/download) completes this little mid-album quasi-universalist section, erring more on the side of the blues and faith-in-general than any scripture-thumping.
While most of the disc is a testimony to Kelly Joe Phelps' relationship with god and Jesus, the music itself remains beautiful and imaginative. Still, secularist fans of Phelps will likely be turned off by the amount and exuberance of preaching contained on the disc. Where it treads that fine line between folk-gospel and Christian contemporary, it often leans far more to the latter than the somewhat more universally appealing former.