Review by Sylvie Marie & Staff
Bible Belt Blues is a husband and wife Gospel Blues duo consisting of Harold Vondenstein (guitar) and Paula Vega Vondenstein (lyricist, producer, visionary). They have released two Gospel Blues albums to critical acclaim, “I’m Not Ashamed to Be a Christian” and “My God, My God.” They are winners of the coveted Josie Music Award for Gospel/ Christian Duo. Eighteen of their songs have already received radio airplay thanks to Bill and Kat Radio’s Cross 104 Gospel Blues Hour Syndicated Program, Country Blast’s Multi-Genre Hour, WQFX Power Gospel Radio, and National Indie Radio (WNIR). Their song "We are the Body of Christ" is an inviting song for our times.
An upbeat muted guitar in 6/8 marches forward in "We are the Body of Christ." The urgency in sound feels like a full-steam locomotive train that can't be stopped. The guitar, played by Harold Vondenstein, has intensity and purpose. Glistening blues riffs, with plenty of bend and articulation, are woven on top of the muted chords. The energy, from beginning to end, never wains. This is a march song with message, meaning, and mission. Harold delivers a throaty, blues tinged vocal performance that captivates. He sings from the inner depths of his soul keeping listeners hooked on every word.
Folks familiar with the Bible Belt Blues already know that the exemplary guitar work and fine musicianship of Harold Voldenstein is the foundation that supports the music's
carefully crafted words which are composed by the talented Christian poet and lyricist, Paula Vega Vondenstein. In "We are the Body of Christ," Paula leaves no stone upturned in her well-written, open invitation. This is a message of inclusion, a path to follow, and above all else - an assignment of purpose.
The song commences with a list. Paula names off different roles in Christian community: apostles and teachers, evangelists and prophets, healers and caregivers, messengers and encouragers, musicians and singers, prayer warriors and praise dancers. After she gives "some" of the roles, she gives us a description of where they belong. They are "a family" who is united under one Body of Christ. And like most families, they need each other to grow and flourish. And then Paula explains their purpose. Each person has an assignment. The most startling word, for this writer, was the strong word "assignment." Paula could have easily said each one has a gift, but she wrote that "Each one has an assignment." What is an assignment?! An assignment is more than a job. It is more than a task to cross off your list. An assignment is the allocation of individual gifts to fulfill a purpose..Each person is on an assignment to build the Kingdom of God. The takeaway is that no matter what gift you were assigned, it was assigned to you from God to help build His Kingdom and each assignment is important and valued. In her writing, Paula doesn't skip to the end. Instead, she carefully takes the listener down a path choosing each word, the stepping stone, with great care.
"We are the Body of Christ" resonates as a "call to action" song that doesn't leave anyone out. "Each one" and "We" are repeated throughout. The Bible Belt Blues are inviting you to answer your assignment and join the family of Christ - their assignment is message through music and they are sharing their gift, as a husband and wife family, and as part of God's family, to help build the Kingdom of God one great Gospel song at a time.
For more information on the Bible Belt Blues, please visit their website.