JOHN ELEFANTE – On My Way to the Sun (2013)

51qEpzSF1gL._SL500_AA280_Kansas was my first taste of progressive rock in the early 80’s – a blend of heavy guitars, keyboards, and melodic vocals – set to complex melodies and soul-searching lyrics.  Songs like Play the Game Tonight, Hold On, and Fight Fire With Fire set a high watermark for a new generation of musicians.  John Elefante provided the vocals for those Kansas classics.  He continues his musical journey with his latest, release, On My Way to the Sun.

The first thing listeners will notice is the classic sound that catapulted Kansas into the national spotlight over thirty years ago. Strong and melodic vocals dominate the album.  The production is first-rate, the kind of work that Elefante fans have grown accustomed to.  The arrangements are tight and sound is current – really a mix of the present and the past.

The title cut, On My Way to the Sun tracks a pilgrim who learns hard lessons and ultimately comes to the end of himself: “Lately, life’s been good to me/I finally found the key to what it’s all about/This is a life that’s been truly turned around/And this is no make believe.”

This is How the Story Goes is an 11 minute progressive tune that is reminiscent of Kansas; a true feast for the ears. Elefante is quick to alert listeners about the most important thing in life, namely – one’s eternal destiny: “And this is how the story goes/You must believe it all my friends from the beginning to the end/Cause everyone lives forever/We just have to choose where my friend.”  As the tune progresses, the answer is given for people desperate for hope: “A Virgin had a Son/And a stone was rolled away/So how can we be terminal because He lives today.”  Kansas fans will swear that Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope joined Elefante for this one!

We All Fall Short is a brilliant acoustic driven tune that awakens listeners to this fundamental reality, namely, every person has committed cosmic treason against a holy God, and has as a result, fallen short of His glory:  “But we all fall short of the glory of the Lord/And if we stand on the fence it’s not a life we can afford/No better place to be than beneath His wings/And the love that we crave is the love that He brings.”

This Time is a haunting, cello dominated tune that follows a girl who gets pregnant outside of wedlock and is pressured to walk through the  horrific prospect of having an abortion.  The song is a powerful reminder that life is a gift from God – that life is meant to be cherished and treasured.  A very special song, indeed.

Confess is a gospel-exalting song that celebrates the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and the forgiveness He offers every person who confess their transgressions: “Praise Him and fall to your knees and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord/And He’ll be faithful to forgive you of your sin/Just confess that Jesus is Lord.”

My hope is that John Elefante’s new work will attract a whole new audience.  This is masterful music that honors God and lifts the cross of Christ high!  Play it loud and worship with a heart that magnifies and exalts the King of the universe!

5 stars

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