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Wes King
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THE ROBE (1993)
The Robe - Click to view! Our lives are complex creatures. We are constantly running in all directions, doing this or that job and impressing this or that person. The clock never stops ticking, and we sometimes feel more like machines than people. Yet, despite the hubbub and confusion one could say that we are primarily defined by two simple things: faith and love. Our thoughts, words, and actions are expressions of faith and love: we are supported by the foundation of our faith and defined by our attitudes concerning love.

Most musicians would rather talk about their love life (sad as it is) than refer to their faith. Not so with Wes King. The Robe is all about faith and love, and how they both affect our lives. Whether he's bluntly stating his beliefs (as in the upbeat opener “I Believe“), passionately declaring his need for a woman’s love (“Optional Thing“), or awefully standing before the throne of God and marveling at His holiness (“Holy“ - which also features narration of Isaiah 6 by theologian R.C. Sproul), King effectively communicates the emotions contained in these personal moments. Furthermore, he proves that foundational beliefs don't have to be dry: though the guitars never sear, The Robe features some good pop/rock songs that will get your feet moving and head bobbing.

King's understanding of love, an understanding that goes beyond romantic moments, is easily found in the rest of the songs on this CD and even more easily applied. Anyone who has never been a star can relate with “Second String“ where Wes cites embarrassing incidents like being a bench-warmer in high school football or getting lost on a first date. “Optional Thing“, a laidback rocker, has Wes crooning, “Your love is not an optional thing.“ And no, he's not talking to God. (“You've got a figure like an hourglass, baby ~ It just gets better with time“.) Delicately reflecting on the death of a friend's mother, “John“ comforts the grieving son with the reminder “She's gone to be with Jesus.“ Through all of this, King doesn't consider love to be simply an emotion, but an action that is shown by how we think of and treat others.

The most moving songs on this album, however, are his “unplugged” acoustic tracks. “Carolyn” is a tender ballad which asks the title character, “What must I do to win your love?” Turning from human love to divine love, King aptly shows how our most perfect love is but a picture of God's love. Unaccepted devotion causes King to reflect that “I can't live in the same world with you, girl, if I can't be your man“. The result? King leaves this world to “Move to the Moon“. Inventive guitar moves backed by various keyboards and a saxophone create a moment which will carry you into the heavens and back with Wes.

Yet, through all of this, King remains firmly rooted in the ground. “I believe in the Word of God,“ he declares in “I Believe“, and the rest of the CD bears witness to this. No matter what the situation, King uses the Bible as his guide to life, a standard oft-ignored and rarely spoken of. This is perhaps the most laudable aspect of this CD, though the other parts are not unworthy of praise.

When this CD was released, one reviewer mentioned that this CD played like a soundtrack. And he was right: The Robe is a soundtrack. It's a soundtrack to life that looks at the common denominators of our lives: faith, need, love, misplaced devotion, death, and awe. The result is the eye-opener that shows what we need: a solid foundation that is found only in Christ and His Word. King is not claiming to have all the answers, but he points us towards the one who does. For that, this CD is timeless and deserving of many listens.
- Jason Ewert
May 2002
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