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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. It's time now for our music project, Heavy Rotation. Each month, NPR Music asks public radio hosts and DJs to name a new song that they just can't stop listening to. A list of these favorites is posted on our website and each month we feature one of those picks here on MORNING EDITION. Today we hear from music critic Kim Ruehl, a contributor to Folk Alley.

KIM RUEHL, BYLINE: Which is a 24 hours Web stream of folk and roots music, accessible from anywhere at FolkAlley.com.

GREENE: Kim's pick is Truck Stop Gospel by Parker Milsap, a songwriter whose voice makes it hard to believe that he just turned 21 years old.

(SOUNDBITE FROM SONG, "TRUCK STOP GOSPEL")

PARKER MILSAP: (Singing) Eighteen wheels and 18 miles to Tucumcari, just me and Billy Graham and a Bibles that I carry.

RUEHL: Parker Milsap is from a small town in Oklahoma outside of Oklahoma City. He started making waves on the folk scene when he was right out of high school. This is his first full-length album and it's just kind of blown up the folk world right now.

(SOUNDBITE FROM SONG "TRUCK STOP GOSPEL")

MILSAP: (Singing) When (unintelligible) I remember that the gospel ship is getting nearer.

RUEHL: It's a very American song. It's kind of a highway song about a trucker who is born again and wants to, as the lyrics say, modify your behavior.

(SOUNDBITE FROM SONG "TRUCK STOP GOSPEL")

MILSAP: (Singing) Just want to modify your behavior, I just want you to love my savior.

RUEHL: It's not a very judgmental song. I mean in these times evangelical Christianity is such polarizing thing. People are either threatened by it or they give a resounding amen. But the guy in this song is just kind of a sympathetic character.

(SOUNDBITE FROM SONG "TRUCK STOP GOSPEL")

MILSAP: (Singing) Holy water radiator, this truck ain't for hire, gonna drive it till I join the angel choir.

RUEHL: Parker told me after his shows people will come up to him, some people will say praise the lord, thank you for doing the lord's work. And other people will say thanks for sticking it to the religious right. And he just thinks it's kind of funny and fun to let people take from the song what they will.

(SOUNDBITE FROM SONG "TRUCK STOP GOSPEL")

MILSAP: (Singing) Well, of all the apostle-preaching truck stop gospel, I'm not angry and I'm not hostile.

RUEHL: He's really ahead of his time with the way that he writes and especially the sound of his voice, he sounds like he's been around and, you know, has had a long rough life. But he's only just get started.

(SOUNDBITE FROM SONG, "TRUCK STOP GOSPEL")

MILSAP: (Singing) I just want you to love my Jesus. Gonna make you a true believer. Just want to modify your behavior...

GREENE: That was Kim Ruehl, a contributor to Folk Alley. Her pick for our Heavy Rotation project - we were just listening to it here - "Truck Stop Gospel," by Parker Milsap, off his self-titled album. You can see the full list of songs at NPR.org/music.

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