told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me....And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.” --Nehemiah 2:8,18 (KJV)
If anyone remarks to you that Christianity is for those that are “weak minded”, play them Woven Hand as proof to the contrary. It is one man’s testament to a faith that is laborious, yet gives him the strength to persevere. Ask yourself: Is it easier to simply ignore God’s existence, or to invest your faith in a supreme being, creator, and father invisible to man’s dubious eye?
David Eugene Edwards, the fire-and-brimstone lead singer of 16 Horsepower has taken his lyrics of death, love, faith, God, hell and pertinacity to another level in his solo endeavor, Woven Hand. It’s not unlikely that the other members of 16 Horsepower, who don’t share Edwards’ beliefs, were uncomfortable with the lyrical content of this new material; whether it be paraphrasing Isaiah 28:11: “Given to other lips, spoken on other tounges” or Matthew 26:41: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”, David’s lyrics don’t shy from acknowledging his Christian faith. This is a man who, during a live performance, chanted the line “Jesus above everything” while clutching his guitar over his head.
“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.” -- Saint Thomas Aquinas
Not one to mince words, Edwards commences “The Good Hand” with mandolin strumming, and the explicit statement: “I am nothing without His ghost within.” Edwards makes a similar statement in “My Russia”, one of the more menacing tracks of the album: “I am everything that he is not.” One of the most instantly memorable tracks on an album with a complete lack of filler, is the organ saturated “Blue Pail Fever,” with its somber, sing-a-long refrain.
The most pedestrian complaint about Woven Hand is that it’s too bleak, even for Edwards. True, it is a gloomy record, but small slivers of light shine through in “Glass Eye”, a more bluegrass-tinged track that makes reference to James 1:19: “Quick to anger and quick to speak.” and “Arrowhead,” with its Celtic flavor and Holy Ghost extolling. The cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” is the apotheosis of dirge; with Edwards transforming the tale into near apocalyptic dimensions.
Woven Hand was recently only available as an import from Germany’s Glitterhouse Records, but was recently reissued on the avant-garde, quasi-Christian label, Soundsfamilyre Records. The accentuation of Edwards’ religious leanings does not feel overbearing, but natural and earnest; a man who has relinquished his soul and put his faith in something admittedly supreme. A man who can safely sing:
Shook out my salvation
in all four corners of my room
lowly is the dust
trustworthy the broom
Reviewed by: Gentry Boeckel
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01