Various Artists: Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us 

Mercyland Records

Several of Music City's most talented alt-Americana studio musicians and writers are Christians - yet they're comfortable enough with their faith to be respectful and tolerant of others with different beliefs. They live it instead of simply talking it. Phil Madeira and several like-minded artists have constructed a wonderful collection of tunes presenting a different perspective on spirituality than the usual gospel record. From Buddy Miller's plaintive "I Believe in You" to the very traditional "Lights in the Valley" by the Carolina Chocolate Drops, each song provides a unique and ultimately entertaining discourse on some aspect of faith. Atlanta's own Shawn Mullins scores with "Give God the Blues," and Madeira's title track is a captivating slow groove. Say amen, somebody! (4 out of 5 stars)

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