Harold and Paula Vega Vondenstein are Bible Belt Blues, an award winning husband and wife music ministry duo from Gulfport, Mississippi. Their music . With a blues-rock feel, Harold utilizes a muffled and muted string technique that will have your head bopping. The muted guitar creates a jamming percussive palate that keeps the song's intensity moving forward. Each verse asks a heartfelt question related to a basic human need. istian Duo. More information is provided on the duo at the end of this song review. Suffering is a part of human existence and there have been endless worldly books and songs written about how to find love, peace and happiness. In the song, "Through Christ Who Strengthens Me", Bible Belt Blues offers a different path inspired by the Bible verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13).
Signature to Bible Belt Blues sound, the track consists of swampy guitars, and gritty and grounded vocals, both performed by Harold Vega Vondenstein. With a blues-rock feel, Harold utilizes a muffled and muted string technique that will have your head bopping. The muted guitar creates a jamming percussive pallate that keeps the song's intensity moving forward. Each verse asks a heartfelt question related to a basic human need.
Harold enters singing the first question, "How can I find hope in the midst of all my sorrow?" He moves on to ask many questions and, after each question, plays a short blues riff that seamlessly transitions from one question to the next. When Harold arrives at the answer, "I cling to my Rock, Jesus Christ," the guitar thickens with solo interludes and musical pauses to emphasize important lyrics. The song really sways when Harold sings, "He lifts me up when I'm down. He lifts me up when I'm down." At this moment, it's hard not to sing or clap along. Harold is a musician who plays and sings with soul. This is not cookie-cutter music. This is music that is felt and experienced on a spiritual level.
It is important to note that the duo could have chosen a solemn blues vibe, but this song is very uplifting and as you read the lyrics, it becomes evident that this choice was intentional. Paula Vega Vondenstein wrote the lyrics to "Christ Who Strengthens Me." The song starts with a series of questions, and you can almost see people nodding their heads in acknowledgement as each question is sung. Every one of us has asked one or more of these questions at some point in our lives. At the core of Paula's questions is the human experience of suffering. Suffering may include sorrow, pain, grief, unrest, need, discomfort, or loneliness. Paula pairs each type of suffering with it's antithesis: hope, peace, joy, comfort, contentment and love.
"How can I find hope in the midst of all my sorrow? How can I find peace in the midst of all my pain? How can I find joy in the midst of all my suffering? How can I find comfort in the midst of all my grief? How can I find contentment in the midst of all my need? How can I find love in the midst of all my loneliness?"
The appeal and beauty of Paula's writing, in this song, is that the lyrics are written in first person. This testimonial style is both inviting and inspiring. It is one thing to be told what to do when you are suffering, and a very different thing to hear about someone else's account. Using a personal, first-person approach, Paula shares her story. Her testimony begins with inner pain that leads her to cling to her Rock, Jesus Christ. And then she outlines how Jesus heals her. He lifts her up; He carries her; He stands by her; He loves her; He encourages her. And He does all of this even though she feels unable or unlovable. The song ends with the realization that “I can do all things through Christ” and pure gratitude. From beginning to end, Paula gives a vulnerable account of her personal story. It is very powerful.
In "Through Christ Who Strengthens Me", Bible Belt Blues present the greatest paradox of humanity and the most difficult one to understand. Suffering is not a weakness. Suffering is a strength, because you have a Rock and you can "do all things through Jesus Christ."
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For more information on Bible Belt Blues, visit their website.
More information on Bible Belt Blues
2020 has been an exceptional year for Bible Belt Blues with twenty five of their songs having already received radio airplay, extensive media coverage (song reviews, articles, and interview), and numerous nominations and awards including the 2020 W.A.M. Music Awards Nominee for Gospel/Christian Song of the Year, 2020 Josie Music Awards Finalist Nomination for Duo of the Year, 2020 InterContinental Music Awards Finalist for Best of Gospel/ Contemporary Christian-America, 2020 Gulf Coast Gospel Music Awards Song of the Year Nomination, Finalist Award for the Christian Songwriting Contest, and Finalist Award for Song of the Year Songwriting Competition. Bible Belt Blues is part of a recently released Christian album with various artists, "Consecration Revival Vol. 1" by Bongo Boy Records which was submitted for consideration for this year's GRAMMY's®. Bible Belt Blues' songs have charted numerous times on the Roots Music Report and on WNIR Radio's Top 10 Chart every month since January of 2020. They were the inspiration behind the creation of WNIR Radio's new Christian Program, "Spirit & Soul." They are currently working on their 3rd album.