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A Songwriter's View from the Pew

Folk singer Susan Werner warmed pews in more than 20 churches for her album, <em> The Gospel Truth</em>.
Folk singer Susan Werner warmed pews in more than 20 churches for her album, The Gospel Truth.

Susan Werner's musical path has taken her from opera to pop, jazz and classic folk songs.

But in her latest album, The Gospel Truth, this singer-songwriter explores America's gospel roots — an experience that leads to her own spiritual journey.

For this Catholic farm girl raised in Iowa, writing a gospel album meant exploring both her own religious skepticism, and the passion millions of Americans have for Christianity.

Werner sat in the pews of more than 20 churches across the United States, and the result is a collection of heartfelt — but sometimes biting — gospel tunes.

From choir-backed ballads to hand-clapping singalongs, Werner shows how church music shapes the American experience.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Nationally renowned broadcast journalist Susan Stamberg is a special correspondent for NPR.