See the term “Christian Music” and, for some at least, it might conjure images of dry, dusty, devotional music, preaching to the converted and very much staying within some fairly solid musical demarcations. If that is how you picture such music then you need this latest compilation from Bongo Boy Records. Christian music it may be but it is as cool and creative and certainly as non-preaching as it gets.

Take Me To The Church, which kicks things off, is a glorious take on sin and salvation from the much-missed Kate Magdelena, a song laced through with country cool and fantastic lyricism. Before I Take My Rest by Blind Lemon Pledge is a brooding blues piece, resonant and musically rewarding and Bob Shaw’s Long Distant Call From Earth To Heaven is a lilting folk song about listening for that call from the higher powers and how such calls might not come from far away from you as you might think.

Fair enough, there are some songs that make no bones about where they are rooted but then much of the gospel and blues traditions has the same roots and songs such as We Worship The King of Kings (by Bible Belt Blues) are the perfect blend of secular music and devotional lyricsm. But many of the songs here are about as modern, up to date and moving with the times as you can get.

Where You There is gospel-soul at its finest and comes courtesy of Ann M. Wolf, Dale Mitchel’s I Celebrate You Endlessly is a country-rock stomper and the brilliantly named Sheba The Mississippi Queen’s A Love Song To God is a gorgeously seductive ballad, mellifluous and full of sweet soul vibes.

And we end where we began with the unmistakable sound of Kate Magdelena and a brilliantly sultry reworking of The Battle Hymn of The Republic, as gorgeous as it is unexpected.

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