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'Follow the Star' CD celebrates Christmas

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Nov. 14 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

Megan, left, Bob, and Amy King sing together on Bob's latest CD, "Follow the Star," a celebration of Christmas.

Provided by Bob King

“Follow the Star,” a new Christmas CD by Canadian musician Bob King, features 13 simply arranged songs celebrating Christmas — with a country flavor. King wrote six of the songs.

King’s experience performing, composing and teaching songwriting in schools in Manitoba and Saskatchewan for the past 30 years provided inspiration for at least three of the original songs on the CD. A few are reflective, but most are rhythmic, energetic and easy to sing along with. The selections will appeal to children as well as adults.

The CD features some beautiful children’s voices. King’s two teenage daughters, Amy and Megan, and a ward member, 10-year-old Tamber Grunewald, sing two of the traditional carols on the CD: "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and “Away in a Manger." Other carols include: “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” and “O Holy Night.”

The Bobolinks join King in singing “All Around the World,” “Santa Got a Real Job,” “Wonderful Day” and “Snowball, the Christmas Cat.” The group consists of a children’s choir from the Regina Sasketchewan Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined by children from Grenfell Elementary School in Grenfell, Sasketchewan, and the Walker School in Regina, Saskatchewan.

The Canadian-born LDS musician began writing and singing as a teenager. One of his early songs, “Sandwiches Are Beautiful,” later recorded by Fred Penner and various other artists, sold a million copies. “It was then that I decided to go back into writing children’s music,” King said in a recent interview.

Penner was a member of “Kornstock,” a country-western band King performed with in the 1970s. After the group members went their separate ways, King spent the next 15 years working mainly as an entertainer/musician in a cocktail lounge.

“I was living in a very modest bungalow and was the single parent of an 8-year-old boy,” King said. “Artistically, I had not written anything of substance in a long time, but I still had my hopes for the future.”

One hot August day in 1988, King answered a knock at his door. There stood two young men wearing dress pants, white shirts and ties.

“Yes?” King said. The two young men offered a message that included a book called the Book of Mormon.

“Ahh,” King recounted thinking. “So these are the Mormons.” King had studied religions and was curious about the Mormons. “I had never had the opportunity to hear firsthand about the things they believed,” King said.

A year and a half later, in 1990, King was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Since joining the church, King has made about 10 albums and written two books.

“I quit drinking, which helped a lot,” King said. “I know that it was only after gaining clarity of thought and purpose that I was able to achieve such things.”

One of his songs, “Brother For Sale,” recorded by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, has sold millions of copies. His picture book “Sittin’ on the Farm” has sold worldwide and was translated into several languages.

Of all of his projects to date, King cites this Christmas album as his most satisfying experience as a musician.

King’s hope for the album is twofold.

“I want listeners to feel uplifted and I want them to have a stronger testimony of the importance of the birth of Jesus Christ after listening to this music,” King said.

For more information about Bob King’s music, his website is at www.thenewpaths.com.

Savior of Universal Truth

"Savior of Universal Truth," written by Bob King, is one of the selections on his new Christmas CD, "Follow the Star." It's sung by Bob and his daughters, Amy and Megan.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street in Springville. She enjoys creating multimedia content. Her website is at www.dramaticdimensions.com.

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