American folk music developed on the periphery of popular culture during the 1940s and 1950s before being brought to center stage in the 1960s by Bob Dylan and others, including Peter, Paul, and Mary. Unlike most pop music, folk's stripped-down music and complex lyrics explore interpersonal relationships, social inequities, and even faith. Folkies of today rarely make the Billboard charts. Their concerts aren't staged in massive stadiums or arenas, but in smaller clubs and bars where their often painfully confessional lyrics create a powerful bond between performer and listener.

What many evangelicals do not know, however, is that some of today's most acclaimed folk artists regularly wrestle with key Christian themes, though many would question the folkies' theological orthodoxy, their left-of-center politics, or their refusal to join the contemporary Christian music (ccmCCM subculture. Artists like David Wilcox, Carrie Newcomer, and Over the Rhine are not shy about saying that Christ has touched their lives and transformed their music. These three musicians will perform this July at SojoFest 2001 (, a 30th anniversary celebration at Wheaton College of the Sojourners community and its magazine.

Eclectic Influences

Husband-and-wife team Linford Detweiler and Karin Berquist are the heart and soul of Over the Rhine, the critically acclaimed Cincinnati band that Billboard magazine said was best known for "intensely personal lyrics that offer an elixir for life's wounds."

The songs on Films for Radio, the band's eighth and most sonically alluring album, fit the bill. "This collection of songs is about internal worlds, about the dialogue that runs inside all of us, conversations we have with ourselves," says Detweiler. ...

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