Andrew Peterson is not only an excellent singer/songwriter, but also the author of the four-book fantasy series for young readers called the Wingfeather Saga. After completing the latest book he was creatively spent and decided it was a good time to put out a collection of his music spanning his recording career which began in 1996. The result was this 20-song release, comprised of four new songs, eight of his classics re-recorded and eight favorites, specifically chosen by his fans on his Rabbit Room website. I found it similar in nature to Matt Maher’s 2013 All the People Said Amen and Jars of Clay’s 2014 20.
The new songs are:
After All These Years – This song was released as a single and features a light, folk-pop melody. Peterson sings of God’s faithfulness:
‘Cause you never let go. You never let go.
You led me by the hand into a land of green and gold.
You never let go. You never let go.
Your love endures forever wherever I go
after all these years.
Everybody’s Got a Song – This is a loving tribute to Peterson’s hometown of Nashville.
To All the Poets – This song was written with Gloria Gaither. Peterson thanks God for all of the poets he has known for sharing their gifts with him.
Romans 11 (Doxology) – Peterson puts Paul’s words to music. I can hear this being sung in a worship service:
For from Him, through Him,
to Him, is everything
To God be the glory forever and ever.
To God be the glory forever, amen.
Peterson’s lyrics creatively paint pictures over his acoustic backing. All of the songs are excellent here, so it’s really hard to pick favorites. Mine would be “Dancing in the Minefields”, “The Silence of God” (which I actually thought had been written by Peterson’s friend Michael Card, as it was included in his 2006 album The Hidden Face of God), and “The Good Confession”. Peterson was born in Illinois and I enjoyed the multiple references to the state, having lived here my entire life.
If you are an Andrew Peterson fan, this is a nice collection. If you are not familiar with this music, this would be an excellent introduction.
Andrew Peterson at Calvary Baptist Church in Normal, Illinois (August 29, 2015)
Andrew Peterson appeared in concert at the Calvary Baptist Church for their “Back to School Weekend” event. He was accompanied on drums by his 15 year-old son Asher. Andrew immediately built a good rapport with the audience with his warm smile and the stories he told about his songs, many of which are about his family.
He opened with “All Things New” and followed that up with his “legalism recovery song” “Rest Easy” from his most recently studio album, 2012’s excellent Light for the Lost Boy:
You don’t have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don’t have to prove yourself
You’re already mine
You don’t have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
So you can rest easy
Next was “God of My Fathers”, most of which was written by Ben Shive, with Peterson changing just a few words.
Peterson was born in nearby Monticello, Illinois, where his dad was a pastor and he lived his first seven years. He said that returning to the state and seeing corn fields and silos was for him like seeing the Grand Canyon.
He told a story about his Grandma Click who lived in Lakeport, Florida, and then sang “All the Way Home”. One of our favorite songs of the evening was about his uncle Steve (a dairy farmer), who had been diagnosed with cancer and had only a few months to live. He decided to drive with his wife Margie to Alaska to fish for salmon. Peterson said that he sang the song “Alaska or Bust” in front of his uncle’s casket at his funeral:
So get in, I’ll do the driving
And your bag’s already packed and in the truck
So Margie, get in, put down those dishes
Well, the town will see us go if we’re in luck
So come on, it’s Alaska or bust
He played “Lay Me Down” next, which was the first song that mentioned Illinois:
I suppose you could lay me down to die in Illinois
Bury me beneath the rows of corn
Or in-between the maple trees I climbed on as a boy
Where in the Land of Lincoln I was born
Peterson has been married to Jamie for 20 years and they have three children. After a big fight at year 15 he wrote “Dancing in the Minefields”, which was what he called a “get outta trouble song” and is one of my favorite of his songs:
We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
He then told of a song he wrote on a night when he couldn’t sleep. It had been his birthday and also a day when he released a new album. The only review on iTunes had ripped the album and given it a one-star rating. It bothered him all day and he wrote the song “Fool with a Fancy Guitar”.
Just before the break he played “Be Kind to Yourself”, his only song on the piano (all of the others were on the acoustic guitar) and the only song he played from the forthcoming album The Burning Edge of Dawn, which will be released October 9. The song, produced by Gabe Scott, was written for his daughter who deals with self-condemnation.
Peterson mentioned that he is 41 years old and on Father’s Day broke his leg hopping stones in a river in Asheville, North Carolina. This was his first show since having the boot removed.
The first of two songs about the Resurrection was “Day by Day”. Another “Illinois song” was “The Ballad of Jody Baxter”. This song was about the main character in the book, “The Yearling”. He also mentioned that Frederick Buechner is one of his favorite writers, and one of the things Buechner wrote about was listening to your life. In “The Ballad of Jody Baxter”, he looked at his childhood in Illinois as Eden and Florida as the Fall.
What was good, good, good
Is gone, gone, gone
And there’s a little boy
Who’s lost out in the woods
Always looking for the fawn
He then asked for requests and played a powerful version of “High Noon”, another song about the Resurrection.
He finished a wonderful concert with “Calling Out Your Name”, “The Reckoning” and “After the Last Tear Falls”, written with Normal native Andrew Osenga. It was my first time seeing Peterson in concert and Lord willing, it won’t be the last. I’m very much looking forward to the new album on October 2.
- The Wonderlands: Darkness. The third of Jon Foreman’s four EPs will be released on September 4. You can pre-order it on iTunes and get “Come Home” and “June & Johnny” instantly downloaded.
- Highland Hymn. Watch this video of a performance of “Highland Hymn” from the album Glory to the Holy One, performed live during a concert the evening before the start of the 2015 Ligonier Ministries National Conference at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida.
- Laser Detects Brain Tumour Cells During Surgery. Reuben Hill was diagnosed with epilepsy and a brain tumour after he was found collapsed in his bedroom. During the laser-guided surgery to remove the tumour, he was asked to talk or sing to see if these functions had been negatively affected. Fergus Walsh writes “With the lights dimmed, Mr Hill sang these poignant words from the (Matt Redman) hymn “10,000 Reasons”: “Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, I’ll still be singing when the evening comes.” The operation was a success and he’s now well on the road to recovery.
- NEEDTOBREATHE – “Brother (feat. Gavin Degraw)” (Live Acoustic Video). NEEDTOBREATHE performs “Brother (feat. Gavin Degraw)” live acoustic from New York City.
- What a Fool Believes. Michael McDonald and the Doobie Brothers performed their classic song recently on The Tonight Show.
- Song for Someone. Illustrator and photographer Matt Mahurin directs this video for “Song for Someone” from U2’s latest album Songs of Innocence.
Much of modern worship music has become disconnected, even uninterested in sound theology. We need to work towards a re-connection. Fernando Ortega
The Silence of God by Andrew Peterson
This song was included in Michael Card’s 2006 album about lament – The Hidden Face of God, so I naturally thought it was written by Michael. I recently found out that it was actually written by Michael’s friend Andrew Peterson. It is our song of the week. Listen to the song here.
It’s enough to drive a man crazy, it’ll break a man’s faith
It’s enough to make him wonder, if he’s ever been sane
When he’s bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the Heaven’s only answer is the silence of God
It’ll shake a man’s timbers when he loses his heart
When he has to remember what broke him apart
This yoke may be easy but this burden is not
When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God
And if a man has got to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they’ve got
When they tell you all their troubles
Have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
‘Cause we all get lost sometimes
There’s a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
And He’s kneeling in the garden, as silent as a Stone
All His friends are sleeping and He’s weeping all alone
And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain but the breaking does not
The aching may remain but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God