Terry Kitchen,
Blues for Cain and Abel
(Urban Campfire, 1999)

This album took me by surprise, to be quite honest. I always follow along the lyrics while listening to music, and sometimes I read ahead. I was expecting sneaky contemporary Christian music. What I found was an honest group of songs from a man examining his faith, questioning here and there, and relating it to his life.

Starting with the title track, Kitchen ponders one of the great religious mysteries -- why God rejected Cain's only offer and then punished him. In an enigmatic statement, Cain answers "it takes one to know one," when God accuses him of murder. In "Martin Luther," he points out that the German priest worked to bring religion to the people, only now the church that bears his name is draped in riches. Kitchen ponders if Luther would nail his angry questions on the door to the church that bears his own name. Finally, in "Good Friday," he examines his own faith in God and how one can lose it in the modern world.

But Kitchen also explores relationships, loneliness and the world in general. One of my personal favorites, "Bethlehem," has Kitchen telling the story of a family growing up in one town and the ties that bind you. In "You Always Got There First," he sings a fitting tribute to a friend who lived fast, and how he wishes the friend was there to see how he has progressed in life.

This album took a year to produce, and it was well worth it. Kitchen's soothing voice blends perfectly with the music and backing vocals, giving you the right frame of mind to contemplate your own questions. In fact, my only complaint about this album is his constant use of slant rhymes and condensed words. He strains a bit at times to make certain word flow together, and it is very noticeable. But that one complaint aside, I highly recommend this CD. If anything, it teaches you the lesson to not judge music without really examining it.

[ by Timothy Keene ]

[ visit the artist's website ]

Buy it from Amazon.com.