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Artist: The Trees and Chaff Ministry
Label: Unheardof Records
Length: 10 tracks

The popularity of praise and worship music lately has been enough to make a genuine music listener close their ears to any mention of those two words. The name Trees and Chaff Ministry is definitely enough to conjure up ideas of the typical stereotypes found in praise and worship music. However, once the listener gets past this and actually places the CD in the player, they will find something of value here.

The Trees and Chaff Ministry is Arthur Alligood, a guy with a guitar, a rich voice, and an honest spirit in his music. The music is kept simple; with Alligood's acoustic work generally the only thing backing up his vocals. What makes this mix work is the lyrics that Alligood pens. The songs aren't concerned with being preachy or with using the typical Christian buzzwords. What they are concerned with is expressing in simple language the significance that Christ has in the every day life of a normal human being. This idea may not seem groundbreaking, but at the same time it hasn't been carried out very often either without an industry entering the mix.

CD02 is a very purposeful album without being pretentious. Sometimes a solid dose of simple, honest songwriting can go a long way in creating an album worth listening to, as Alligood has proven here.

Trae Cadenhead 9/25/2003


Trae Cadenhead is a student at Union University. He is pursuing a Digital Media Studies major with a Film Studies minor and plans to become involved in film making following school. Trae also has an enormous interest in music. Along with writing for the Tollbooth, Trae maintains, a digital archive of his thoughts on music and movies as well as a gallery
of the art and video work he is doing. 

Arthur Alligood is the driving force behind Trees and Chaff.  He composed all of the songs; sang; played guitar, piano and some minor percussion; and shot all of the photos used in the cover art.  An indie songwriter in the vein of Todd Snider or Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), his lyrics point out different aspects of God and the people who labor to follow Him.

"Still Reads the Same" is performed a cappella and reminds us that everything in life is in a constant state of flux, with one exception: Christ, that fact in wherein the author's hope lies.

Some things change and some things stay
But the sign above His Head still reads the same
Even Pilate knew the answer to"What is truth?"
'Cause the sign above His head still reads the same.
"Taken Off the Market" deals with Christ's purchase of salvation for those who follow Him.  "Sheriff" is a vignette concerning sin and guilt, and sums up the idea of Romans 3:23 in a three-minute sermon illustration.  "Everyday Q & A," a  Counting Crows-like tune,  is a response to those who would ask what is different about Christians. "Living Martyrs" reveals the joy in serving Christ.

Make sure you listen to this disc to its completion--lots of material is uncredited.  While a little too lo fi for my taste, CD02 is a fine effort lyrically--Alligood has a clear picture of what he wants to say and why, and his conviction rings true.

Brian A. Smith 10/21/2003

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