Bible Belt Blues - 'I Know It's Easy'
Review by Sylvie Marie
Paula and Harold Vega Vondenstein, of Bible Belt Blues, are ready to evangelize the world one song at a time. With a distinct sound and lyrics that are bold and brave, the Vondensteins have dared to tread where many other Christian songwriters have dared not tread: to address sin, repentance, and salvation in their songs. 2019 was an amazing year for Bible Belt Blues with the release of two original Christian albums: “I’m Not Ashamed to Be a Christian” and “My God, My God.” The duo won the coveted 2019 Josie Music Award for Best Gospel/Christian Duo. Amazingly, twenty two of their songs have received radio airplay (Cross 104’s Gospel Blues Hour Syndicated Radio Program, WQFX Gospel Radio, Country Blast Radio’s Multi-Genre Hour, and WNIR Radio). They have charted month after month on WNIR Radio, a station known for popular, secular music, and were the inspiration behind the radio's new "Spirit & Soul" inspirational and Christian Radio show. Bible Belt Blues was recently nominated for Song of the Year with the Gulf Coast Gospel Music Awards for their song, “Down the Rabbit Hole” as well as a nomination for Ministry of the Year with The Best of Mississippi Awards for 2020.
Bible Belt Blues has an unforgettable gospel-blues sound that centers around the unique guitar playing of Harold Vega Vondenstein. Harold creates a plucked blues string orchestra for the duo's songs with solo guitar and effects. Plucking out the first chord, one note at a time, Harold commences "I Know It's Easy" as he sings, "I know it's easy, oh so very easy, to justify your desires." Harold is a master of tone painting. The guitar playing, mimicking the lyrics, starts off as "easy" with a simple chord arpeggio then grows more and more complicated and intertwined, like the web of sin he is singing about, because even if you justify your sin, and it feels easy at first, your life only get more and more tangled. He creates a pause in the arrangement as he sings, "God sees everything."
Harold and his guitar are truly one as his soulful voice and intricate guitar work give a jaw-dropping performance filled with urgency. Harold adds blues bends, riffs, and scale-wise fills that fly from his fingertips. You can hear the sparks on the strings as his electrifying playing captivates. The overall vibe is classic-rock blues.
Bible Belt Blues is a duo in every sense of the word. Whereas Harold provides the vocal and instrumental composition and performance, Paula is the wordsmith and producer. Like a sculptor, Paula starts with a concept and molds and chisels the song's meaning through her vision and carefully selected lyrics.
"I Know It's Easy" is a cautionary song that unfolds as a conversation between two friends. The first message is that sin is easy, and Paula gives examples that everyone can relate to: justifying your desires, losing your temper and control of your tongue, gossiping about your neighbors and seeking revenge. The lyrics cover our thoughts, actions, and language (mind, body and soul).
The second message unveils why it is easy to sin. "I know it's easy...oh so easy, when no one is looking." The scenario is that of a person who believes, perhaps, that he or she is "getting away with it." The concept is a bit like the tree that falls in the forest. If no one sees it fall, did it fall? Of course it did and Paula reminds listeners: "Don't forget, my friend. Don't forget, my friend. God sees everything."
Paula could have ended the song on a cautionary lyric, but she offers a contrast to the darkness. Jesus called us to be holy and like the salt of the earth, to serve as he did. And through our thoughts, actions, and words, we can be a light if we walk away from sin.
"God has called us to be holy. God has called us to be like Him. God has called us to be salt and light . Called us to walk away from sin."
Have you ever wondered what makes someone a true friend? The song "I Know It's Easy" provides a Christian template for friendship. A true Christian friend will tell you the truth and help you stay on a holy path. They know it's not easy to live a life without sin so rather than throw stones at you or call you names, they remind you, in an honest and heartfelt way, that God is watching; He is everywhere; and He calls you to be holy. You can't ask for a better friend than that, and "I Know It's Easy" is, at it's core, a musical act of Christian friendship from Bible Belt Blues to the world.
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