Red Roots have been making a splash in Southern Gospel Music with their Country/Bluegrass sound and family harmony. With their current single, Lord, I’m Listening, climbing up the Singing News Charts, this trio from Mississippi is making their mark, which if you read the review below, is a good one. Musically, there is a strong Country flavor on their project. If you talk to the girls – Natalie, Nika and Nicole – they will tell you that their mission is to reach those who listen to secular genres with Christian lyrics. It might be tempting to think, when you see young artists, that their music will be directed to the younger generation, and maybe those who are a little later in life won’t be able to relate to their music. Not so here, when I was listening to their project to write this review, it was noticeable that these songs can be applied to any age group. What I love so much about this Cd, is that the lyrics focus on life. Whether you are a teenager, young adult, middle-aged or older, there is a spiritual lesson that can be taken away from each of these songs that everyone can connect with.
1. God Shaped Hole
Message: The message of this song comes down to the fact that in every person there is a place in our lives that only the Savior can satisfy. The first verse addresses the familiar arguments that Christianity is up against, those being: there is no eternity, all we have is now, or, I just see things differently than you, etc. In the midst of those thoughts, these lyrics take a stand and say that it’s about faith, and openly refuses to believe what this world puts forth as “truth.” The chorus takes it a step further and says that in every person there is place that only Jesus can satisfy and the heart seeks after this. The words choose to describe this void as a “God shaped hole,” which is a unique modern way to say it! The second verse continues the theme and asks the questions, does the world seem dark, pessimistic, like it’s missing something? That’s because the world wasn’t meant to fill that God Shaped Hole…
Other Comments: On a musical note, I love the banjo intro on this song! Be sure to listen for it! Back to the message, the lyrics are solid as a rock. Our culture has us believing that material things can satisfy that place in our life that was meant for the Lord, and this song is a great reminder of that truth!
2. Lord, I’m Listening
Message: “This world don’t make it easy – to live the life You want me to. I‘ll run myself just about crazy – before I turn to You.” These words open the verse of this tune that talks about listening for God’s voice when life has worn us out. (Those lyrics were just too good not to quote!) When you think about what the verse is getting across, trying to live in our own strength, running ourselves into the ground before we call out to the Lord – it just makes the chorus so beautiful. When we’re tired and God speaks to us, it’s not in a “why didn‘t you come to Me first” kind of tone…He’s gentle and loving. He is all the comfort we need. In realizing that, we remember that He knows all things and are content in listening to His voice. The second verse talks about praying for peace and wisdom…how did this life get so demanding? And admits that sometimes it hard to know where to start. The bridge sums up the idea with a little advise from Romans 8:27 – when we pray we don’t have to use fancy language or have any words at all, we just have to let the Lord come in and start working in us.
Other Comments: I can’t help but feel that these lyrics are just what we need to hear today too! In this fast pace world we live in, it’s hard to just sit and listen for God’s voice.
3. Diamonds In My Heart
Message: This song talks about beauty, and the difference between outward and inward kind. The first verse tells us what the world says beauty is, then muses that just being truly happy is a kind of beauty in itself. You can fake a smile for a little bit, but when you’re sad, it doesn’t matter what kind of makeup you wear, nothing can cover it up. The chorus expresses that it would be better to have grey hair and wrinkled skin with a inward beauty that time can‘t erase. A testimony that Christ has changed our hearts is far more important! The second verse contemplates love the way that the first one did beauty. In these lines the writer admits that they thought love was just a temporary thing that comes and goes every now and then, until they saw an elderly lady “with Your light, sparkling from the inside.” After asking this woman if she has always been this way, we receive the response, “It’s hard to cover up the way you feel when you feel His love inside.”
Other Comments: This is a great song for girls and women! Once again, I love the practical message that fits right in and challenges what our culture pressures us with today.
4. Double Wide Church
Message: This is what I like to call a “story song,” so in the first verse we follow directions to a church that’s described as “a little patch of heaven” somewhere out in Kentucky. This place doesn’t have the regular things you may associate with a church building, like a bell, steeple or an association. Instead, the chorus tells us that this special place is filled with blood bought Believers who agree on the plan of salvation. The last few lines exclaims that if you are searching for Christ, you can stop there at the “double wide church.” (Which references to a double wide trailer with a little play on words.) The second verse tells the story of how a drunk came in on a service on time and received the Lord…though it sounds like he made a ruckus in the process! The words to the chorus change the second time around, and describe how the full house sings loudly to the accompaniment of guitars, and reiterates once again, that even at a little place like this, Jesus can be found.
Other Comments: This song has the exact intro and tune to Alan Jackson’s song, Chattahoochee!
5. I Know Where I’m Going
Message: This song uses the story of late night train ride to illustrate some truths of salvation and our journey to heaven. In the first verse we know for certain where we are going (heaven) and asks others, “Don’t you want to come too?” We already have our reservations on that train that’s leaving after nightfall, and there is plenty room for more, the destination is certain and there is no indecision – we long to be there. The chorus continues to ask if you want to go, ride, be there with everyone else? Salvation is waiting for you to take hold of it! – Don’t you want to go? The second verse takes on the same structure as the first, only this time around, we know why we’re singing and ask, “Don’t you want to sing too?” It asks you to let the Spirit move in your life and let go of the things holding you back. The song builds with a energetic harmonica solo before going back into the chorus and ends the number with a combination of the first and second verses together.
Other Comments: This song was released as a single by Country giants the Judds back in 1987. Red Roots bring their vocal harmony and a snazzy harmonica intro and turn around that is truly enjoyable!
6. Red Roots
Message: Story songs are my favorite, and this one has a message that compares a little “tree hunting” to what Christ did on the cross. The first verse has us listening as a little girl and her dad go out in to the woods to look for a sassafras tree. The story is written by the viewpoint of the little girl, who is looking for the leaves of the sassafras, which has three parts like the Trinity. Just like father and daughter were searching for this tree, and found it (as we will see in the second verse), the chorus jumps to the spiritual angle of the song – if you’re searching for the Lord, you will find Him, but be prepared to “dig down deep.” Sometimes you have to get a little dirty to get “all the way down to the red roots.” Digging for the red roots signifies being washed by the Blood of the Lamb. The second verse takes us back to the forest where the girl recalls finding this special tree with her dad. He picked one out, then gave her the shovel so she could help did up the roots. Once found, they took the roots and left the tree on the ground. The girl feels that leaving the rest of the tree to die isn’t right, but it also reminds her of the sacrifice that Christ paid on the cross for our sins. The bridge talks about making those sassafras roots into a delicious red tea, that also points us to the power of the Blood, through which we are saved.
Other Comments: Pure brilliance! This song catches the listeners attention by complete surprise as the story of our salvation unfolds in such a unique way, giving dual meaning to the name Red Roots.
7. What If God Says No
Message: This one is about prayer, but brings a tough question into view – what if God says no to that prayer? One such instance is in the first verse, where after one short year a wife is dying of cancer, though her husband prayed everyday that God would heal her. Towards the end, even in her condition, she could see her husbands anger towards God. Bravely, she took his hand and asked the question that is the title to this song. The chorus is a compilation of beautiful, yet heartbreaking thoughts. If God were to say no, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us any less than others – it means that He knows what is best in the situation. If God says no, (this is the line that gets me), “It’s enough we have His grace – so don’t let go of your faith.” The second verse takes us to a different situation, where a man’s business is working really slow. Because of this lag, he has more time for his family and faith, though he’s still praying for that miracle. The bridge wraps up the whole idea with the most difficult thing God must have had to say no to – when, on the night before the crucifixion, Jesus asked His Father if this cup could pass from Him.
Other Comments: Some may remember this song from the Akins. It’s kind of neat to think that the original was a family of brothers singing, and here is a family of sisters who recorded the same song!
8. These Days
Message: The focus of this song is living life to the fullest now and not waiting on what could happen in the future. Verse one talks about how the days are getting shorter and sometimes it feels like our whole lives are lived “waiting in line.” Suddenly, we realize that we need to slow down and make every day count for something. The chorus speaks of finding that joy on rainy days and enjoying His love during the good times too. The last line of the refrain reminds us that, “Tomorrow is a hope that we can’t hold to anyway…cause all we have are these days.” The second verse focus’s on another part of life that we sometimes struggle with, listening to God’s voice in a loud, loud world. I love the line that says, “It’s hard to hear Your voice over mine.” The lyrics then advise us to listen closely for His voice. As a final point, the third verse talks about these days drawing closer to Christ’s return, and those days are indeed brighter!
Other Comments: I like how the lyrics progress with theme: first it talks about how the days are getting shorter and we don’t feel like we’re accomplishing much. Then, life jumps to being so busy that we find it hard to slow down and listen for God’s voice. At the final verse, we see the fast approaching coming of Jesus ~ a brighter day!
9. I Could Have Been Something
Message: The message of this song talks about what is really important in life – family. The first verse takes us to a restaurant, where a young mother views a business woman walk through the door. The lyric describes the designer clothes and fancy hairstyle that the business woman has and tells us that was what the young mother could have been. Suddenly, the mothers little boy tugs on her clothes drawing her attention back to him, and then she knows that she has to help him grasp this truth. The chorus speaks of what our main character could have been. She could’ve focused her life on a career with a world recognized name, she could’ve done something that would have been notable and remembered in history, but instead, she gave her life to her family and became “something more.” I love the line that says, “I could’ve held on tight to this old life’s greatest rewards, I could’ve been something, but thanks to you…now I’m something more.” The second verse fast forwards to forty years later, where a grandfather is enjoying a lap full of grandkids and holding on to his wife’s hand. The lyric notes that in his younger days he dreamed big and had great plans, but up against what he has now, those things can’t compare. The bridge wraps up the spiritual lesson in the song and concludes that thanks to God’s loving, guiding hand, we can become something far greater than what our own plans can come up with.
Other Comments: This is a song that is timely for today. In a world where the family is pushed to the background and personal success is up front, we need reminded that some of the greatest things in life will never be earned with a paycheck.
10. The Bridge
Message: This ballad uses the picture of a bridge to demonstrate what Christ did for us on the cross – closing the gap between this world and eternity. When we see the bridge in the first verse, it’s length is disheartening, but we begin anyway. Further on in the journey, we are walking over the ocean and it’s frightening waves, yet, with peace of mind, we press on and don’t consider looking behind us. Thinking ahead to the other side, our affections are set on the builder of this bridge ~ Christ.
Other Comments: This song was difficult to write about because a lot of the same concepts were used in the verses and chorus to create unity. It was absolutely beautiful to listen to!