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The Gospel Truth

Susan WernerAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)


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Audio CD, 2007 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 27, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sleeve Dog Records
  • ASIN: B000NJWTQQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,683 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. why is your heaven so small
2. help somebody
3. forgiveness
4. did trouble me
5. sunday mornings
6. our father the new revised edition
7. lost my religion
8. don't explain it away
9. i will have my portion
10. probably not
11. together

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of the most innovative songwriters working today... (Susan Werner is) a triply blessed artist who sings adroitly, plays the piano smartly and, best of all, writes songs of genuine distinction and high craft... --Chicago Tribune

Susan Werner, a clever songwriter and an engaging performer, brings literacy and wit back to popular song... --The New Yorker Magazine

This woman is great. Period. --Music Row (Nashville)

Product Description

With 6 albums under her belt, an active touring career throughout the U. S. and a string of accolades from the likes of The Washington Post, The Village Voice and The New Yorker, Susan Werner has become one of the defining artists of the folk music genre. Her songs effortlessly slide between folk, jazz and pop, and are delivered with a sassy wit and classic mid-western charm. Her album The Gospel Truth explores the role of the Church in contemporary American life. Quite possibly the first ''agnostic gospel'' album, her new songs speak in a wide variety of voices, from faithful and traditional to the critical and even the unconvinced.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Chicago based songwriter Susan Werner is known nationwide for her spirited, and often hilarious, live performances. While previous albums showcase Werner's considerable writing chops, THE GOSPEL TRUTH succeeds in also capturing the dynamic performance energy & presence that have long set her apart. Beneath Werner's stunning vocals, which are at times guttural, smooth, and quietly intense, Grammy Award-winning Producer/Engineer Glen Barratt paints a folkie new-grass back drop that hums with organic warmth and Gospel power.

Strip aside the flawless production and performance and let's get to what really makes this record important - the songs themselves. They're some of Werner's best yet . THE GOSPEL TRUTH offers up faith and doubt side by side while examining the truth about God & goodness. Werner claims onstage that THE GOSPEL TRUTH is the world's first "evangelical agnostic gospel album", but the doubtful and devout alike will find affirmation in this joyful approach to some big spiritual questions.

While some songs make light, ("Our Father Revisited" - "Lord lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from those who think they're you"), others go much deeper into the complexities of faith & social responsibility. Notable stops on the journey include the bluesy call to action, "Help Somebody," the rich piano ballad "Forgiveness", ("How do you love those who never will love you?") and the conscience driven "(My Lord) Did Trouble Me."

But don't think that Werner is preachy, pushy, or overly sentimental. Nope. She's just real. Part of her greatest charm is her ability to so succinctly state what so many of us are feeling and thinking. This is most apparent on the final (hidden) track, the ethereal "After All of This".
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Near-Flawless Folk-Gospel Classic April 2, 2007
Format:Audio CD
If you havent yet heard of this wonderful, underrated artist, you might need some time understanding what this music is all about.

First of all, Susan Werner sounds like a mix between Jennifer Knapp, Alison Krauss and some Regina Spektor thrown in for good measure. To be sure, this album distinctly reminded me of the first Alison Kraus & Station record, and strongly brought back memories of the Christian classic "Kansas" album by former recording artist Jennifer Knapp.

The tunes here are very muted, toned down, and rely on some beautifully sparse and simple instrumentation, letting Susan's lyrics stand out and speak for themselves. I have got to say, this is one amazing songstress, and the words here speak volumes.

Remember though, that even though the melodies here are catchy and the music is lovely, there is a spiritual, religious overtone to it, as that was the intention. Personally, I think this is brilliant, and the words are generic enough to fall short of being a totally Christian album - yet its definitely gospel - in fact, comparable to the best of the genre.

Susan Werner definitely suprised me with this album, as I never really learnt to appreciate the folk-gospel genre. But this CD blows it wide open for a wider audience. Delve in and appreciate!

Four Stars.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly Perfect--Certainly Refreshing April 9, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Werner has a beautiful voice, and the way she varies the speed and pronunciation of words--even syllables--is amazing. I appreciate her ambivalence about religion/God. I guess this is close to what is called "spiritual, but not religious." My favorite song--both its message and musical composition--is the energetic "Probably Not," which gets to the root of religious ambivalence or agnosticism.

The clickable graphics displays of seemingly endless choices (and usually syncopated to voice and music) are astounding in design and color.

Only one negative: At times, certain words or syllables are indecipherable to (or too low for) the ear. I don't know if it's her singing or the recording equipment. Helpful, though, is the accompanying insert that has the songs in print.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TRUE Gospel music! May 12, 2007
Format:Audio CD
These lyrics speak to the True Gospel Message of love, acceptance and forgiveness. Ms Werner touched my heart with "help somebody" and "did trouble me", stimulated my thoughts with "heaven so small", "our father" and "don't explain it away", and pumped up my joy level "i will have my portion"! Every cut is worth relistening, thinking, sharing and discussing! Agnostic Gospel or Not, I say "Amen, Sister!!"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The whole truth and nothing but May 21, 2007
Format:Audio CD
This is a great CD! Good vocals, good instrumentation, and great writing. Susan Werner takes on all comers - phony evangelists, exclusionary fundamentalism, and the boys club mentality of the Catholic Church. When she is not lambasting theocrats, she is expressing the contradiction and confusion experienced by those trying to make "sense" of spirituality and theological concerns. "our father" by itself is worth the price of the CD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignantly Honest March 3, 2009
Format:Audio CD
This album is thematically quite a change from Susan Werner's past recordings, although musically it showcases as always her giftedness as songwriter, musician, and singer. This classically trained folk artist, in this recording, examines her own agnosticism and the questions she has for the faith of her upbringing.

Sure to offend some, but very enlightening for those who would embrace an open window into honest questioning. As a Christian myself, there is much here for the church to hear if it will, if only an understanding of why some drift away from the faith.

Susan Werner bares her soul in these lyrics. She questions. She embraces. She hurts. She longs for what she misses. She is witty ("Our Father"), unsettled ("Sunday Morning"), and benevolent ("Help Somebody").

For Christians, not an uplifting recording at all, but a very inspiring one, if heard in the way I think it was meant to be heard. As not one agnostic voice, but a collective voice longing for meaning and relevance in the culture of religion.

Musically beautiful, lyrically thought-provoking and poignant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Those with ears will hear.......
Thought provoking. Revealing some of the sticking points with "religion". A faithful use of art and talent. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rebecca Dittenhafer
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously Funny
I just saw Susan Werner perform in Green Lake, WI and got her latest - "Hayseed Project" - at the show. Read more
Published 10 months ago by A. Schmidt
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing songs
Susan Werner set out to write gospel music for agnostics, and succeeded. These are songs of searching, doubting, and leaving room for the possibilities. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Michele Barnett
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your usual "Gospel Music!"
She'll probably never be a top-ten radio star, but Werner's songs are thoughtful, non syrupy music with a nod toward religious themes. Especially great for agnostic homes.
Published 18 months ago by Ron
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I experienced Susan in concert earlier this year and was hooked. I immediately wanted "The Gospel Truth" to hear more of her repertoire and talent, and especially her testimony of... Read more
Published on June 15, 2012 by Barbara Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars If there were a 6-star Review Rating--I'd give "Gospel Truth" all 6
After hearing colleagues perform one song From Susan Werner's "Gospel Truth" album, I had to hear the rest. Read more
Published on August 16, 2011 by Connie Fanos
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Progressive Gospel Music
What happens when an agnostic from Iowa writes a Gospel album? Well, you get some pretty cool music. Read more
Published on May 28, 2011 by Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably good.
I saw her live a month ago and decided to buy a couple of CDs. Exactly as wonderful as what I would expect from the live show. Read more
Published on November 5, 2009 by M. Pat
3.0 out of 5 stars Gospel Truth
This is generally a good album but thematically the songs repeat themselves. Nevertheless, the two or three truly original songs are worth the purchase price.
Published on July 12, 2009 by John Hanscom
5.0 out of 5 stars Musically sound, lyrically satisfying
It always amazes me to find something to delight me that's been around all this time without me. Hypocrisy in this album is tickled unmercifully by a woman whose musical chops are... Read more
Published on March 18, 2009 by V. Pierce
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