Ten Stones
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4 Stars - Excellent
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Artist
Release Date
September 1, 2008
Label
Sounds Familyre

Sounds like … truly alternative folk-rock with echoes of T Bone Burnett, Nick Cave, Vigilantes of Love, The Call, and David Bowie.

At a glance … Ten Stones is more accessible than most other albums by David Eugene Edwards (as Wovenhand or 16 Horsepower), thanks to stronger melodies, increased stylistic variation, and haunting-yet-reverent lyricism clearly derived from the artist's Christian faith.

Words like "unique" and "original" don't apply to most artists these days, Christian or otherwise, but it certainly describes the work of David Eugene Edwards. As the creative force that drives Wovenhand, his sound is not easily categorized. "Alternative," yes, but in a stark and haunting way that's in the same family as Nick Cave, only much more reverent and inoffensive as an expression of Christianity. It's been described as "gothic folk," but I imagine it as the sort of thing that 13th century monks might have flagellated to—at least previous albums.

Ten Stones bears Edwards' unmistakable musical stamp, yet it could also be his most accessible effort to date (though I confess I've not heard every album released by Wovenhand or Edwards' other band, 16 Horsepower). "The Beautiful Axe" sounds more like The Call or early U2 at their most alternative, and even expresses joy (gasp!) when looking forward to Kingdom Come—"He did ascend away to prepare a place/Let the sound together hold you/To the humble he has given grace/From the proud he hides his face." Likewise, with a sound reminiscent of Vigilantes of Love, "Not One Stone" sounds relatively cheery for Edwards as he reflects on Christ's sacrifice and sovereignty. And with "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars," he embraces lounge jazz feel (as only he can) for what ...

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