2012 / Autumn Music Productions
Review by Michael Debbage
Four years have passed since Philip Wesley released his most ambitious project to date courtesy of the moody and more introspective Dark Night of the Soul. While his prior recording was written during a dark time in his life, Hope Endures from the artwork to the music reflects a more optimistic recording. Stylistically, it also reflects an artist that is increasingly discovering his own musical voice.
Hope Endures essentially picks up where Dark Night of the Soul left off opening with two rather stark songs courtesy of “The Unknown” and “Leaving the Darkness”. “Leaving The Darkness” is not quite as bleak but still conflicted as it is countered back and forth with buoyant passages. Wesley then shifts gears finding hope by loosely borrowing from the hymn of all ages “Amazing Grace”, though adding his own unique arrangement to the classic. Similar themes occur on “What A Friend” which generously borrows from the hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” and “Come Thou Fount” where Wesley places his own musical DNA on the classics.
Otherwise, the majority of the tracks are self composed and bring a sense of energy and vibrancy as reflected on “New Beginnings” and to a lesser extent “Second Chances”. Then there is the simply gorgeous spacious title track that is understated yet thoroughly moving. This may be one of Wesley’s most precious compositions that also reflect the gifts and skills of his recording engineer and fellow musician Joe Bongiorno. She is a beauty!
If one were to include his holiday recording Comfort and Joy, Hope Endures represents Wesley’s fifth recording to date and arguably also his best. It also reflects an artist that has not only made a personal transition from darkness to hope but one whom is finding more and more his own musical voice.
August 31, 2012