John Elefante was born on March 18, 1958 in Levittown, New York, but his family soon moved to Long Beach, California. He sang lead vocals, played keyboards, and wrote songs on three albums by the mainstream rock group Kansas. Those albums were released between 1982 and 1984. John put out four Christian rock albums with his brother Dino under the name Mastedon from 1989 to 2010. John and Dino also produced albums for the likes of Petra, X-Sinner, Barren Cross, and Greg Long. In 1993 the Elefante’s founded The Sound Kitchen in Franklin, TN. That recording studio has been used by The Boss, Amy Grant, Brad Paisley, and several others. ON MY WAY TO THE SUN (2013, Kingheir Music) is John Elefante’s fourth solo disc. It was self-produced. John: “Lyrically, I have more inside of me that I need to say, more I need to express and convey than ever before”.
The album begins with ‘This is How the Story Goes’ featuring Kansas members Rich Williams on guitar and David Ragsdale on violin. Brian Dollar and Rusty Posey are on backing vocals. This lengthy, well-executed, experimental rock number, directly addresses the listener: “And this is how the story goes, you must believe it all my friend/From the beginning to the end, cause everyone lives forever/We just have to choose where, my friend/Cause the virgin had a Son, and the stone was rolled way/So how can we be terminal?/Because He lives today”. ‘Where Have the Old Days Gone’ is an electric guitar driven rocker. Those from the older generation will be able to relate to these lyrics: “I remember me and my friends playing in the schoolyard/Playing silly games making up the rules/Then I would walk home all by myself/Cause back then we didn’t worry ‘bout no strangers/I would get to my house, there were no locked doors/Never worried about freaks or predators hanging around/We fought with our fists, nobody pulled a gun/Just get a bloody nose and take off and run/But nowadays everything has changed, violence everywhere/A state of disrepair”.
‘On My Way to the Sun’ finds John concluding that he needs the Lord, on this melodic chorus: “Then if I’m alright, but everything’s wrong/Then why can’t I seem to find my way home/The fields have all dried up, so desperate for rain/No wonder why the harvest never came/A knock on my door, this time I’m answering/I’ve waited too long to put a crown on my King/This time, it’s everything/On my way to the sun”. ‘All I Have to Do’ is a great adult rock song. Again, it ultimately points to Jesus: “There’s a feeling in the air, so many signs of your arrival/And some will call us fools as they invest their time in idols/It’s coming through/The seasons are changing, but the battle is far from over, and what is true/It’s so much harder to see, living in the new reality/And I could no longer see it, it’s out of my range/Though it’s my own skin, I feel so strange/A Savior is waiting/He’s not only mine/He wants me to embrace you so/Let Him shine”.
‘The Awakening’ is a cry for unity in the Body of Christ: “Angelic voices fill the air/It’s a joyful occasion to bring to the nations/This truth that must be shared/A time for repentance and a time to show reverence to the One who can take you there/.../Why did it take so long to come together as one/And lift our hands unto the Lamb of God?” ‘Half the Way Home’ is a strong song that makes good use of backing vocals. It reflects on the nature of time: “Every second means much more than the one I lived before/Time is much more precious than gold/Take His hand, let Him take hold/Leave your mistakes on the table, cause the table will be cleaned/Like a long forgotten dream/Celebrate the moment, it will never come again/Make the best of every moment, until the time that we ascend/I’m finally at peace with myself/I’m on my way to the Son/I can slow down, there’s no reason to run/I’m half the way home”.
‘We All Fall Short’ has an acoustic feel which is refreshing, and uses strings. It points to God as a refuge: “We don’t have to sit ashore and watch the ocean/We have the power, we can overcome the waves/We don’t have to fear and always run for cover/We have a love like no other/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 underneath His wings/And the love we crave is the love that He brings/A far greater love than anything we can conceive”. ‘Don’t Hide Away’ is a contagious song that is evangelical in nature: “Hide away, hide away, don’t hide away, let the light turn on/Shine down so the world will see, hide away/Don’t hide away/Let your light turn on/Let everyone see that we are strong/Don’t hide away”.
‘This Time’ is a powerful ballad that builds in intensity. It tells the story of a young teen at an abortion clinic where God intervenes: “Right then the Lord began to speak, you’re not taking this one, she’s Mine/She’ll grow up to seek My Name/You’re not taking her this time/I decided before time began/Her name is written in the Book/They didn’t have the power to take her life/They’re not taking her she’s Mine/And you’re not taking her this time/No, you’re not taking her/THIS TIME”. John’s adopted daughter, Sami, was rescued from abortion! He has partnered with Online For Life. The album closes with ‘Confess’. It contains these simple, yet powerful words: “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, oh, that Jesus is Lord”.
The vocals and instrumentation on ON MY WAY TO THE SUN are definitely mostly in the classic rock vein. Fans of Foreigner, Journey, Petra, Kansas, and later Whiteheart, will love it! John Elefante rocks out with a purpose and a clear Christian message. I would say this is a very artistic, memorable album with great depth. I’m rating it 93%. For more info visit: www.johnelefante.com.