Dave's "Beat Of The Week - 11/14/08

Posted by WBFJ | | Posted on 9:23 AM

I figure that it's time for some redemption so I actually posted ON TIME this week. Those of you looking for something miraculous, well...look elsewhere. This doesn't qualify. Still I guess you could at least call it a wonder if not quite a miracle.

My "Beat Of The Week" comes from Andrew Peterson whose brand new CD Resurrection Letters Volume II recently hit the shelves. For anyone who doesn't know, my all time favorite artist is the late Rich Mullins, who I had the privilege to get to know shortly before his death. Rich's musical void isn't easily filled but Andrew Peterson comes the closest (only without the use of Rich's beloved Hammer Dulcimer). If you're unfamiliar with Rich's works beyond "Awesome God" do yourself a favor and buy A Liturgy, A Legacy, and A Ragamuffin Band first and then buy EVERYTHING else. Andrew Peterson isn't exactly a Mullins clone but he does note him as an influence. Comparisons to Rich are to be found in Peterson's way of matching earthy, folksy musical vibes with lyrics that ache for the Heavenly. Imagine waking up on a fall morning on a camping trip, getting out of your tent or cabin, and seeing a radiant sunrise breaking over the top of a misty mountain range and you get an idea of where both Mullins' and Peterson's music can take you.

I've been a fan of Peterson's from Day One. He was originally signed to Watershed Records, an imprint of Essential, by Cliff Young of Caedmon's Call. The story goes that Cliff hadn't even heard Peterson's voice yet when he decided to offer the contract. He was so drawn to Peterson's lyrical strengths that he signed him "sound unheard." Hey, if you can say sight unseen, I can make up this phrase right? Fortunately the artist more than delivered on musical quality.

Peterson recently inked a deal with Centricity Records and his new project is his first for the label. It's on my short list for tops of the year. If you're wondering where you can find Volume I, don't. Believe it or not, Volume II comes first this time. It was while writing these songs, with a focus on how the resurrection of Christ impacts our world and our lives, that he decided to tell the story of that resurrection, which made ours possible, the next time out.

Hands down, my favorite track on Volume II is "Hosea" which recreates the story of the old testament prophet and his wayward wife, Gomer. We see the loving power of God in how Hosea's wife responds to her never-wavering husband. I wish I could print the lyrics to the whole song but let's just say that the song starts with Hosea's wife lamenting that she can't stay faithful. "I hear the sound of the streets of the city/My belly growls like a hungry wolf and I let it prowl till my belly's full." It moves on to show the results of sin with lines like "I stumbled and fell in the road on the way home/Hosea, Hosea/I lay in the brick street like a stray dog." But it doesn't stop there. The turning of a person's heart to Christ has never been put more poignantly in a song than with the lines "You called me out to the Valley of Trouble just to look at the mess I've made/a barren place where nothing can grow/One look and my stone heart crumbled - it was a valley as green as jade/I swear it was the color of hope/You turned a stone into a rose, Hosea...I am a slave and a harlot no more." Wow.

There isn't a bad song or an off track in the bunch on this disc. "All You'll Ever Need" is about the blood of Jesus being the only necessary thing in this world. "Don't Give Up On Me" is an earnest plea for understanding during marital struggles. "Hosanna" and "I've Got News" find the artist showing that we don't always live up to the grace that we've received but how that same grace is given regardless.

I could go on and name every track but I'll be content to let you discover the rest of the treasure that is Resurrection Letters Volume II for yourself.

Check out Andrew Peterson at www.andrew-peterson.com or www.myspace.com/andrewpetersonmusic.

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