David Eugene Edwards, formerly of 16 Horsepower, launched off in a new direction in 2001 with a side project known as Woven Hand (and sometimes Wovenhand, without a space). With urgent vocals and somewhat dark undertones, Woven Hand seemlessly merges gothic music with a bluegrassy country, creating a mesmerizing, almost hypnotic sound. Mandolin, banjo, guitar, booming drums and bass, and bizarre folk instruments make a mysterious, exotic, and otherworldly music style that you’ll probably either love or hate.
Woven Hand, coming out of Denver, Colorado, is David Eugene Edwards (vocals, guitar, mandolin, concertina, and more), Pascal Humbert (bass), Ordy Garrison (drums), and Peter van Laerhoven (guitar). Edwards’ vocals are definitely what carries the band, but the rest of the musicians are awesome in their own right and work together really well to create a unique sound.
I first heard of Woven Hand when I was searching for new bands and stumbled onto Sounds Familyre Records, the label that Daniel Smith of Danielson Familie started, and Woven Hand had put up three songs for free download, the same three I’m putting up today.
Woven Hand’s lyrics are impressive – they often provide poetic looks at the kingdom of God and life as a Christian as an otherworldly, supernatural, spiritual endeavor. The kingdom of God is not of this world, and Edwards captures a little of that in his songs.
Check out these lyrics from “Good Hand,” off their first album:
I am nothing without
his ghost within
and all your wooden eyes cannot see
the good hand upon me
I took my shelter neath a familyre tree
im livin where I come from
I am I am my fathers son
see the good hand
see what the good hand done
In some of their songs, you’ve got to look harder to find the Christianity, but others, like the above, are pretty obvious.
I really enjoy Woven Hand and they’ve been one of my favorite bands as of late, but I can’t give a totally whole-hearted recommendation of the band, from my personal standpoint as a Christian. The music is often dark and brooding, sometimes so much that it just feels “not right.” Like when you go into a room and you know something’s wrong. Jesus came to bring light, joy, love, and all sorts of cheery stuff. Sure, there’s darkness in the world, and even Jesus’s life mission culminated with the Passion, one of the most cruel, dark, wicked events of history, but He didn’t end with death. He conquered death, rose up, and now promises life to all who follow Him.
Another thing that’s really weird given Woven Hand’s seemingly Christian beliefs is the band’s participation with Belgian Wim Vandekeybus and his modern dance company Ultima Vez in a dance production (and later a movie) called Blush, which tries to get audience members to blush (hence the name) by showing people engaged in different violent, annoying, grotesque, sexual, or just weird scenes. They call it art, but from what I can see, it’s mostly just sin. Edwards wrote the soundtrack and band members played live with the performance and acted in the movie version. So maybe Woven Hand isn’t perfect. Dang. I guess I can’t worship him then. 😉
Despite some of the questionable and weird things surrounding Edwards and his band, I still think they’re worthy of a recommendation. Just don’t emulate all their choices in life.
Woven Hand is just closing up a European tour and will be coming to the West Coast of the US soon, so check them out if you enjoy their music.
From the website of Sounds Familyre Records:
Wovenhand, music from the melodramatic mind of
david eugene edwards;
colorado born and raised
high school drop out.
A general all around blacksheep
trying to make good by the grace of god.
he is joined in this effort
by steady friends:
and peter van laerhoven
and many others
to whom he owes great thanks.
Here are some songs from Woven Hand for you:
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