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Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken
Mandy Ihrig
Billy Cerveny
Jill Phillips
Jeremy Casella
Andrew Osenga (of The Normals)
Matthew Smith
Katy Bowser
Matthew Perryman Jones

Your King Has Come - Click to view! YOUR KING HAS COME (2000)
Folk music—for some unbeknownst reason—is synonymous with storytelling. Starting with the jazz classics of the early 20th century (Louis Armstrong leading the way) and moving into the 70's with the rock-oriented musings of Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, folk music has always had a tale to tell, and it usually tells it well. Your King Has Come, an independent folk collection headed by Matthew Smith, attempts to add a worthwhile disc to the rich vein of folk music and the lengthy list of Christmas CD's everyone should own. And, lo and behold, they pull it off quite nicely.

Your King Has Come doesn't just tell you the standard Christmas story of shepherds and angels and wise men and stables--it tells you the story of longing and fulfillment, depravity and redemption. "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" (Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken) and "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" (Matthew Smith) present the paradox of an unfulfilled salvation: those who lived and died before Christ's birth were saved by the death that would come. One can hear the longing in the poetry, but in the end there is a light of hope because God's promises are sure. It is no wonder, then, that awe filled the hearts of those who saw the culmination of the prophets' words. There is amazement at the humility of a God who is born a child ("What Child Is This"—Billy Cerveny). There is both peaceful reflection ("Still the Night," a re-working of "Silent Night," by Katy Bowser) and powerful triumph ("O Holy Night"—Matthew Perryman Jones) on the anointed night. Humble shepherds rejoice in the freedom announced by the heavenly host who turned the lowly servants into royal messengers ("Joyful Fire"—Jeremy Casella; "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear"—Jill Phillips). The people of God are sent forth to announce to birth of a King and the arrival of a Savior ("O Come All Ye Faithful"—Mandy Ihrig).

Yet, the most powerful songs on this album are those that sum up the event and its implications. Matthew Smith builds on "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and fulfills it on "Your King Has Come," a song of rejoicing that Christ has come and has saved us from our sin. The old covenant has passed into the new, and God's glory is made brighter still. The other summary song is "Of the Father's Love Begotten." Aurelius Clemens Prudentius's words are given a blues-rock package by Andrew Osenga's southern guitar workings and rolling vocals. Christ is eternal, Christ is eternally praised, Christ's kingdom has been eternally established. Amen!

Where many other Christian music projects fail to provide a well-rounded approach to Christ's birth, Your King Has Come shines brightly. It hasn't sold millions or lined the shelves of music stores. What it has done is taught its listeners not to look at Christ's birth as a pretty snapshot, but as one part of the glorious tapestry of history that God has created and is creating. Rejoice! Your King has won.
- Jason Ewert
December 2002
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