Desperate for Jesus
Husband and wife music duo unafraid to make Christ the centre of their work
When Shane and Angela Wiebe released their latest album as The Wiebes last June, the husband-and-wife music duo were unabashed about their inspiration.
“It… blatantly points to a sincere hunger for Jesus and our desire to live as He lived. What a Saviour we have!” Shane wrote in a message to fans.
He pointed out that he and Angela wrote seven of the 11 songs that appear on the album, titled Arise O Sleeper.
“We’ve gone to the best possible source of all for inspiration,” he continued. “The Bible.”
Speaking by phone from the home he and Angela share in Stratford, Ontario with their two children, Joelle and Josiah, Shane expands on those thoughts.
“I think an artist reaches a point where they make art about what they are most passionate about,” he says. “Angela and I are most passionate about Jesus Christ, so our music is unapologetically about that walk.”
That passion is reflected on the 11 songs on Arise O Sleeper. Highlights include “Give Him No Rest,” a song inspired by Isaiah 62, in which the prophet pleads with the Israelites to pray for God’s Kingdom to come; and the duo’s cover of the hymn “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” which opens with the lines, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold / I’d rather be His than have riches untold.”
Lyrics like that get to the heart of the message the Wiebes were trying to convey with Arise O Sleeper.
“We live in a culture lulled into the sense that we’re rich and happy, so we must be blessed,” Shane says. “Far more interesting than living a monetarily rich life is living a spiritually rich life in which we’re desperate for Jesus.”
He adds that having renowned singer, songwriter and worship leader Brian Doerksen perform on the title track was a highlight.
“It was such a privilege to have Brian on the album,” he says. “I think that really elevated the delivery of Arise O Sleeper.”
The Wiebes spent the latter half of 2014 touring across western Canada and southern Ontario in support of the album. In November, the duo hosted the 36th annual Covenant Awards in Langley, B.C., which celebrate the best in Canadian Christian music.
For Shane, hosting the ceremony was another highlight in a career that has included releasing five albums, winning two Covenant Awards, making various TV appearances and performing for hundreds of thousands of people in the process.
After a busy 2014, the Wiebes enjoyed a low-key start to 2015.
“January is often a time of restoration for musicians, because November and December tend to be such active times of the year,” Shane says.
The duo is currently planning its sixth annual cross-Canada tour, which will take place this summer.
The duo may also create a few more videos for its “Living Room with the Wiebes” YouTube channel, which features the couple performing songs and interviewing guests in their living room.
“Ultimately, it’s just an outlet for us to encourage people and to let people into our lives a little bit,” Shane says.
Find the YouTube channel and hear the Wiebes’ music by visiting www.thewiebesmusic.com.
Aaron Epp is a writer in Winnipeg.
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