Digital Editor’s Note: I’m excited and proud to welcome Rob Allwright as our Guest Writer here at the Sorted Magazine website. Rob brings a wealth of experience and is one of the most respected Christian reviewers in the UK. The energy Rob devotes to supporting and encouraging Christian creatives is staggering. His review show One Man In The Middle is broadcast by Branch FM, Heartsong Live and Hope FM. And I’m just a teensy bit excited that he will soon be joining the wonderful peeps at the Manchester based broadcaster Konnect Radio!

Rob writes: Those who have been immersed in the UK Independent Christian scene for a while might be familiar with the name Olwen Ringrose. In 2004 she recorded Live at the Chapel Royal, an album of the songs that she had been writing across the previous decade or more. She followed this in 2006 with an album called Daughter of the King and this release caught the attention of music lovers and critics alike and then in 2009 she released an EP called Hardly A Day. It’s been 13 years since her last release but in that time she has made time to raise her family, but also to lead worship in her local church. In 2018 she returned to writing and now she has rolled out this new recording called Parables which is a little bit different to much of what is on the market at the moment. You can find this album on streaming services and it features five tracks inspired by some of the parables of Jesus. What marks this out as properly different is that there is a version of this available through Bandcamp, which allows you to buy a version with ten tracks, the other five tracks are spoken word poems which set the scene for the song and parable that is to be visited next on the album.

The first spoken word poem opens the album, setting the scene reminding us of the oral histories of culture and how Jesus came with new original stories about the Kingdom of Heaven described as Nuggets of Wisdom. These parables are not just stories, they point us to God. It is the Kingdom of Heaven that is the subject of the first track as Olwen skips through some of these well known illustrations from Jesus about what the Kingdom is like, a mustard seed, yeast, great treasure. There is no real desire here to give any theology, but more a reminder of the parables as pictures of something we won’t ever really understand. In the middle of this we are treated to an extended musical interlude that capitalises on the folk music aspects of this release.

Coming Home is a nice introduction from the Son’s perspective in the parable known as The Prodigal Son. As the rather upbeat folk music intro starts for The Prodigal’s Return we find that the perspective has been flipped to the Father waiting and looking constantly for his Son to return. These familiar stories continue with one of the best known of all the parables, The Good Samaritan. Interestingly the spoken-word that accompanies this talks about tribes and sticking within our social, cultural or theological bubbles, and it very much sounds like our world today.

The Two Sons is a simple introduction retelling the parable of the same name. The song Actions Speak Louder uses its piano and cello backing to emphasise that we need to really turn up. In this song there is a lovely bit of saxophone which interacts with the brushed drums and cello which is a pleasure to listen to. The album then moves onto it’s final parable of The Pharisee and the Tax Collector, the opening poem reminds us that God is “unimpressed” with empty noise. The last song is simply entitled The Pharisee and the Tax Collector and looks at the differences in the types of prayer as Jesus outlines in the story.

After 13 years Olwen has something to say, and a lot of it is actually in the unsaid between the spoken word and the songs. As a project this is a little different, and I always like different, particularly when it is as well executed as this is here. I would say as a listener taking this project from beginning to end it was sparking thoughts about how we treat people, how we look at love and failure, as well as how we approach prayer and worship. While these parables are 2000 years old there are still fresh applications for our lives and the clever language used in both spoken word and song subconsciously brings those thoughts to the surface. 

Olwen has a pleasant vocal and between her and the producer they know how to put together a moving track. Not all of these are the standard definition of folk music, there are elements of other styles sprinkled throughout. There is a brilliant smattering of different instruments through these songs, the piano leads on many of these but the addition of saxophones, cello and others into the mix really make this an album worth listening to. Olwen has come back with something new and different, we may have to make room for it in the market because it deserves some space. If you can, buy this directly from There Is Hope | Olwen Ringrose (

Main Photo Credit: Courtesy of Olwen Ringrose

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In the quest to bring you more insights Sorted includes interesting articles from specially selected Guest Writers. Each piece is carefully chosen and edited by our own Editorial Team to inform, inspire and entertain our readers.

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