Woven Hand’s David Eugene Edwards plays a different kind of Christian rock. The former frontman of 16 Horsepower deals in biblical imagery, writing in the antiquated language of the Old Testament, singing in a dramatic, fevered and shamanic baritone that recalls Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters of Mercy or Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees.
In “In the Temple” from The Laughing Stalk (2012), he sings: “O upright one; you make the way of the righteous smooth” — a direct verse from Isaiah 26:7 — over epic modern rock (well, at least modern rock as it was defined in the ’90s). In “King O King” he sings: “King O King; only Thou art devout.”
But I’ve got to confess, upon first listen I didn’t pick up on Edwards’ religious bent; I caught the occasional thee and thou, the assorted reference to Sampson or Ezekiel, but Edwards manages to write religious rock ’n’ roll without other-ing the secular crowd, never preaching or proselytizing.
As someone who’s been known to break out into hives at the average Coldplay-lite Christian pop, I appreciate Woven Hand putting religious themes to the service of songs; yes, Woven Hand will appeal to fans of Christian music but equally to fans of heavy-hitting gothic-tinged hard rock — recalling early U2, or an edgier Creed (with good taste).
Woven Hand is in town to make up for a cancelled date late last year at Cozmic, a WOW Hall benefit only booked at Cozmic due to WOW being busy, says WOW Hall program coordinator Calyn Kelly, who adds that when making up the show, Edwards could have played at WOW Hall but wanted to make good on his commitment to Cozmic. Look out for more cooperative events between the two venues in the near future.
Woven Hand plays with 1939 Ensemble 8 pm Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Cozmic; $10 adv., $12 door (tickets only available via WOW Hall).