Sounds like … a mix of acoustic and electric blues, recalling blues greats such as Leadbelly, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Eric Clapton
At a Glance … Ripley County Blues is an excellent Christian blues album due to finely written songs, talented musicians, and an interesting ambiance created by the recording locale.
Though probably best known for his work as a classic Christian rock artist from his time with Resurrection Band, Glenn Kaiser may well be the most important advocate of blues in the Christian music industry today. The Jesus People USA (JPUSA) pastor and Chicago native has revisited the genre for years to varying degrees of success, acclaim, and authenticity. Ripley County Blues is definitely one of the better blues efforts presented by Glenn. Reteaming again with bassist Roy Montroy and drummer Ed Bialach, who both played on last year's excellent Carolina Moon disc, Glenn offers 14 tracks on Ripley County Blues that remain true to the genre while offering strong lyrics of faith and praise.
The gimmick this time is the recording venue, and thereby the ambiance of this album. Twenty years ago, JPUSA built a huge log cabin lodge in southern Missouri, which has served as a retreat center for years. This picturesque setting and acoustically unique facility became the backdrop for the songs of Ripley County Blues, with Glenn and the gang aiming for a very straightforward live sound with minimal overdubbing. The results are excellent – raw and ambient with the lodge's natural reverb, it's kind of like hearing the power trio in a small intimate blues club, which is exactly what you'd hope for in a blues recording.
The three musicians' talents are as impressive ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more