Singer-songwriter Kate Vargas' new song "Church of the Misdirection" is a warning: You'd be wise to view the world with skeptical eyes -- after all, she sings, there's "three steps to gaining believers: disarm, deceive and attract."

"Church of the Misdirection" -- premiering exclusively on The Boot -- was, Vargas explains, inspired loosely by Ma Anand Sheela, the personal assistant to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later known as Osho), a controversial Indian guru who moved his followers from India to Antelope, Ore., in the early 1980s, as chronicled in the Netflix series Wild Wild Country. As Vargas explains it, "a woman becomes enamored by a charming self-help / cult leader / whatever it may be ... Within the song, she goes from a seeker / follower to a recruiter of sorts."

"We can sell anything, even the most preposterous ideas / flimsiest spiritual beliefs, if it looks good on the outside [and] if we speak about it enthusiastically," Vargas muses. "What started as a simple search to find oneself, to connect with the world, sees this person being transformed into a kind of 'spiritual' predator without her ever knowing."

Vargas, who hails from Corrales, N.M., and is now based in New York City, describes her music as "a darkly melodic, reverb-washed sonic palette of dreampop, dusty folk and junkyard blues." She was set to begin recording her new album, Rumpumpo -- on which "Church of the Misdirection" appears -- in March of 2020, right around when the COVID-19 pandemic largely shut the United States down. It took a few months of struggle; a chance to record with her producer in Los Angeles, Calif.; and a guitar borrowed from music great Jackson Browne, but she finally got it done.

After learning to play the flute and developing an interest in jazz in high school, Vargas studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, then headed to the Big Apple. Her music, informed by the stories of the supernatural and the paranormal that she heard from neighbors and friends during her childhood, has been used in the TV shows StumptownGood Trouble and others.

Rumpumpo, Vargas' fourth album, is due out on July 16. Visit KateVargas.com for more information.

Listen to Kate Vargas' "Church of the Misdirection":