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Winnowing Fork
Artist: Redfoot
Bad Apple Records
Stories of the Darker Side of the Heartland
This debut album from Redfoot, an alternative country band from Bowling Green, Kentucky, is the strongest freshman effort I've heard this year.  It's clear they've drawn their influences from Neil Young, The Drive-By-Truckers, Buddy & Julie Miller and Gillian Welch. There is also a strong influence from The Band's Music of Big Pink period.  The songs are stripped down to acoustic guitar, basic percussion, lonely harmonies and an occasional harmonica, This album straight forward and holds strong to folk-country traditions while exploring original themes and stories of the darker realities of the heartland.  
The songs represent a range of gently cynical critiques of modern culture, critical views of modern mega-churches and even a tribute to 
the late actor Charlton Heston.  
The spiritual themes rise naturally and unforced out of the songs. "Digital Jesus" mourns churches so technologically advanced, they've lost sight of the Jesus of the Bible.   
Are you the Christ of peace or the 700 Club
 The Christ of money schemes or the Christ of love?  
"Hardin Springs" brings back a childhood of fishing, the wonders of nature and the call to be 'fishers of men.'  The song "Literally" protests churches who ask members to have faith without intellect; This song recalls how Frances Schaefer once criticized the church of the 1960's, when the youth came with questions, they were told not to question, just believe.  Lead singer and writer, Cort Basham, is comfortable with critical questions that pierce the modern church lost in commercialism and marketing.  He is also able to tell engaging stories through pure folk songs.   It should be added, his voice bares a resemblance to Neil Young.  But this is not an imitation and in fact, Redfoot takes their art into a much different vision of America than Young.   
At the core of this fine album is a call to the earth, to the flawed characters reminiscent of Flannery O'Conner and deep into the heart of our culture through the eyes of the Savior who preached The Sermon on the Mount.  
Terry Roland 
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