Well, there's no easy way around this, so it's best to just get it over with quickly: "The Word" by The Word -- John Medeski, The North Mississippi All Stars and Robert Randolph -- is a gospel CD. There, it's been revealed; the Liz Langley-ites have had ample time to roll their eyes in Pavlovian disdain before flocking to the back page. If more churches had music like this, I might be able to find my way into a pew more often than -- well, at least find my way into a pew. "The Word" is a mixture of gospel, blues and rock that could easily fit into any jam-band's set. The product of Medeski's and Luther Dickinson's obsession with sacred-steel music, "The Word" could figuratively, and perhaps literally, blow the hell out of most rock discs out there.
If you can keep from moving during tracks like "Waiting on My Wings," "I'll Fly Away," "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning" and "Untitled," then it's the fundamentalist life for you. Do yourself a favor and place a Pascal's Wager on "The Word." If nothing else, you'll come away with a CD of great music.