Nazarene Crying Towel
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Apr
The Lost Dogs are one of Christian music's enduring super groups, combining the veteran talents of Terry Scott Taylor (Daniel Amos), Derri Daugherty (The Choir), and Mike Roe (The 77s), as well as Gene Eugene (Adam Again) before his passing in 2000. It's easy and common to view the band as Christian music's answer to the Traveling Wilburys (which featured George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne). In reality, Lost Dogs have proved more creative, more country, and more enduring, releasing their first album together back in 1992. They bear more resemblance to the timeless country sound of legends like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, combined with the sweet vocal blend of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young.
These are some of the Lost Dogs' most straightforward songs to date, inspired by the similar peaks and valleys found in the Psalms. Were it not for their uniquely classic country sound, the album would pass for southern gospel or inspirational adult contemporary. "Moses in the Desert" exemplifies this sound, likening our daily struggles to that of the great biblical leader who fled the comfort of his home in Egypt only to be called back by God: "'But dear Lord I just can't do it. I am just a man.'/He said 'I will see you through it, I Am that I Am.'" A similar classic country pop sound born from the '60s and '70s is found on "Deeper in the Heart" and "Home Again," which is carried by a simple melody and a chorus of whistles.
Many of the songs combine phrases and ideas from several Psalms. The old-time country of "There You Are," for example, combines the despair of Psalm 13 with the comfort of Psalm 139: "Where to run when you're running?/Where to go when you hide?/No matter where You go, still there You are/We can run but God's love won't be denied." "Come Down Here" is a quiet little country ballad that builds on Psalm 51: "There lies inside of me a heart that's dark/Come down here, won't you come down here?/Can't take the fire, but I'll take the spark/If you come down here we can chase that dark."
A similar sound is found in the Psalm 32-inspired "Be My Hiding Place": "Unto Thee I cry my Savior/Don't be silent long, oh my Lord/Hear the voice of my troubled heart, when I lift my hands to Thee/Be my hiding place in times of trouble/Compass me about with songs of deliverance." Either Psalm 27 or 60 could have been the inspiration behind "Mercy Again," which is characterized by Terry's Brian Wilson-styled sighing. Likewise, Mike Roe brings his penchant for raw country blues to the outstanding "Cry Out Loud," which stands out as a grittier and more electric sounding track. It's equaled by the drowsy and dreamy "Darkest Night," which blends together images of Christ's crucifixion and our redemption. "The Yearning" is unremarkable musically, but still speaks volumes lyrically.
This album is not even 35 minutes long, but because there are 12 tracks, the length feels just right. Though most all of the songs were written by Terry,