Musicians who bought Hal Ketchum's 1998 album I SAW THE LIGHT may have noticed that the songs seemed to divide into two types: pop/country fare and grittier, more soulful numbers. That's because the soulful numbers were originally part of a completely different album, which Ketchum recorded in Texas in 1997. A rawer, rootsy album, called HAL YES, was never released. Re-titled AWAITING REDEMPTION, the album features five of the songs that seemed so out of place on I SAW THE LIGHT, but seem to find their perfect context on this disc.
Ketchum displays a bluesier, more emotional side on AWAITING REDEMPTION, stretching his voice until, at times, it becomes almost unrecognizable. This is especially true of the funky title track, as well as the slow-burning "When Blue Was Just A Color," which features burbling wah-wah guitar part courtesy of Ketchum's producer/co-writer Stephen Bruton. Other standouts include the wistful "Days of Wonder" and the excellent, yearning "Lonely Ol' Me." Aside from the beautiful writing and performances, the album is also a fascinating document of Ketchum's search for artistic fulfillment--a search that has paid off in spades.