Are We There Yet? No! But It Won’t Be Long Now!

By

For years I’ve had the habit of checking the Andrew Peterson message board at least two or three times each day. Tonight was no different. I tired of channel flipping and political talk and decided to see what my long-time friends on the AP board had to say. In the same way I might make a quick, “how ya doin'” phone call to a good friend, checking the board is one way I stay in touch with my cyber friends.

resurrection.jpgThe post looked innocuous enough, titled Okay… take deep breaths…. What’s this, a follow up on Michael Phelps with a new training method he’ll be using for the 2012 Olympics? I had no idea, but I click all the posts, so I didn’t hesitate to click this one. Amazingly, what I learned was that Andrew Peterson’s new record company, Centricity has constructed an on-line jukebox which plays Resurrection Letters, Volume II, from beginning to end. Believe it. As of this writing, it’s true.

Here’s the text of the post, made by a poster that goes by the screen name “kanichol”:

I was trying to find a song list for the new record so I did a search on Google …. I found a link to this webpage.

http://resurrectionletters.wordpress.com/

From there you can get song summaries for all of the songs on Resurrection Letters Volume II.  That’s not all… you can also get a free download of Hosanna. Oh and one more tiny little thing…… it includes a link to a music player on the Centricity site where you can listen to the entire CD right now.

I rushed on over and have been playing the record continuously for over two hours now. I’ve already pre-ordered my copies, but how could I turn down an opportunity to hear the songs today?

Listen, there will be plenty of time for reviews, but when I get such nervous tension, I have to do something about it now, or I run the risk of having my head explode. As long as I’ve been listening to Andrew Peterson music, I’ve had this problem. So forgive me. As a method of cheap therapy, and so nobody has to clean up the mess from my exploding head, I hope you will indulge me for a paragraph, or two, or three.

When Andrew Peterson releases a record, I try to moderate my excitement, with little success. I am almost fifty years old for gosh sakes. I can’t be wide-eyed and giddy at the release of a CD, can I?

Yes, I can. Especially now that I have heard it.

So exciting. So surprising. So compelling. So emotional. So truthful. So … Andrew (Andrew doesn’t approve of ellipses, so I did that for fun). Talk about a good shock, like rounding the bend of an unfamiliar road, finding an astounding piece of topography.

“Windows to the World,” a lyrical cousin to “Let There Be Light,” simply wasted me. The hot tears leaked from my eyes as naturally as condensation from a glass pitcher of ice water. The viewpoint communicated so effectively in this song is what attracted me to the music of Andrew Peterson in the first place. Thinking back,  after spinning Carried Along that first time through, it’s like I found an old soulmate, a guy that saw like me, felt like me, and had the guts to—say it out loud. And most relevantly, said it in a way that clearly and concisely communicated.  I know most of you feel the same way. “Windows to the World” simply reinforces that sense.

I don’t want this article to become some kind of breathless book, so I’m just going to make some first blush, fly-by observations. This is an appetizer, not the main course.

“I’ve Got News” does what most of Andy’s catalogue does for us, talks to us as fellow human beings, with temptation, struggles, and pain. Andy’s lyrics never preach or talk down to us, despite being full of Biblical images and references. So on some level, this song is the later day prototype for all of AP’s work. The double-entendre of the “good news” reference is a tasty sweet icing on the cake. As always, the cake would be exquisite alone. But because we are used to rich, luxurious icing from AP, we anticipate it and are never disappointed. The extras light us up just like a birthday cake (inside joke for long time AP supporters).

“The Good Confession” is Andy’s story, but it’s my story, and your’s too, I’ll bet. “The story of one of us is the story of us all,”  says Frederick Buechner. I walked an aisle. I had some church camp experiences that blew my socks off. Dedication, rededication. Flying. Falling. All the while, “I believe He is the Christ, Son of the Living God.” I don’t know much, but I do know that “I was blind and now I see.” This seemingly temporal thread has eternity written all over it, though it’s often hard to apprehend. Songs like this help to bring that vision into focus.

“All You Will Ever Need.” This is the one that Andy and Ben wrote via instant messenger. It’s one of the most memorable on the entire project. Leave it to writers like Andy and Ben to reframe old stories into a new compelling vista.

Biggest surprise of all the songs? “Rocket.” What a bright, sweet, satisfying, musically adventuresome song. AP may have just recorded the world’s first banjo infused reggae song. Is that our old friend Ron Block? The sense of excitement is palpable. I can’t wait to get these lyrics in my hands while I listen.

As usual, there are no duds. Each song is written and executed with grace and style. Though I don’t have the technical expertise to understand exactly why, as a whole, this album is just better. Andrew Peterson is better. Indeed, his supporting cast is better. Those songs I haven’t mentioned  are also exceptional. But I’d like you to experience a few of them for yourself first, without any quasi reviewer running interference for you.

Here’s the nice thing about writing this letter about The Resurrection Letters, Volume II. These are initial impressions. There’s many more literate ways it could be stated, but the stark truth is that Andrew Peterson’s work is “deep,” but not esoterically deep. Because if we take the time to listen—really listen, we will find. It’s deep in the way that we expect to mine nuggets of truth with repeated listening. Werner Herzog’s exploration of the Antarctic in the documentary I recently saw, Encounters at the End of the World, features some of the most curiously beautiful scenes you may ever see–underwater. The music of Andrew Peterson is like that. The deeper we go, the more the beauty is unexpected and astounding. So these, my initial impressions will be followed by years of discoveries and fresh nuance. An Andrew Peterson project keeps on giving.

I’m pumped. The care with which this recording was made is more than obvious with even one listen. It’s thematic infrastructure frames, highlights, and supports its individual parts. Like Behold the Lamb of God, The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ tells the story of Christ, Resurrection Letters, Volume II tells—you guessed it—the story of Christ.  We hear echos of familiar words and phrases; resurrection and redemption, but with an original, creative spirit. It reminds us that this story—our story—is alive and well. It’s breaths. It’s real. The sound is thick, rich. The harmonies are wonderfully lush, almost breathtaking. The choir background vocals ring with heavenly reverence, cohesion we might only expect from fewer voices. The instrumentation is precise, busy when a big sound is needed, sparse when appropriate. I can’t wait to read the liner notes to see who did what on each track.

When are the CDs going to be sent out? October 21 seems like an awfully long way away. Are we there yet?


35 Comments

  1. Jesse Gray

    Curt… you are the MAN! You’ve made my week.

    I have ordered the CD’s too… and I had just resigned myself to waiting patiently. Well, no more, my friend.

    I’m only three tracks in and my eyes are already a little misty. Probably just my allergies, though. Thanks, AP, for honoring our King with another beautiful gift.

  2. Abby

    Thank you Curt!
    I literally screamed when I saw the link.
    My CDs can’t come fast enough!

    Thank you AP, for sharing your gift. It’s an immeasurable blessing in my life. God bless you!

  3. Kyle Nichol

    I’ve probably heard the CD 30 times by now and it keep getting better. I can’t wait till I get my hands on the CD so I can read along as I listen.

  4. Ron Davis

    Today I’m pretty much stuck on “Hosea” – what a wonderful story.

    I love the way Andrew comes through in his writing. The line “I rocked and rolled with a lousy band” cracks me up every time, yet it fits so perfectly between “hymns at the summer camp” and the “song that took my hand”

  5. jacobt

    Big smile on my face right now. I gotta say that I love that the first voice that welcomed me to the record was Mr. Gullahorn.

  6. Matt Algren

    I’ve been putting off pre-ordering the CD, but I’ll go do that now. Love the music. Love Love Love.

    Favorite so far is “All You’ll Ever Need”. I’d love to hear the IM story, but even without that, it’s interesting to see IM-esque shorthand instead of long expository verses. Really breaks it down to the core of the story and draws an obvious parallel. Love it.

    Within a year or two the chorus of “I Believe” will be a standard along the lines of “I Love You Lord” or “Turn Your Eyes”. It’s totally accessible and radio ready, but not in a pre-packaged, over-produced way.

    Can’t wait to get my own copy. Love this, Andrew.

  7. Tony Heringer

    Curt…thanks for the post dude. Andrew is coming to our area next week-end. So, my wife and I are going to make the trek down to Jonesboro, GA to pay homage to the man who brought us all here. I’ve never seen the lad live, so I look forward to listening to this collection in preparation for the concert. You’ve really whet our appetites with your praise which I am sure is well deserved.

    P.S. I’m feeling you on the hair thing. It is funny to see those old photos and remember “Yes, I actually did use a blow dryer at one time in my life.” 🙂

  8. Zach

    Wow, what a unexpected treat! Thank you Andrew for all your hard work put into this album. Thank you captains for providing us with the videos and behind the scenes looks at the production and recording. And thank you Lord for blessing us with the talents, hearts, minds and desires of these individuals!! Just a few seconds into the first song, I knew this would be one of my favorite albums ever. I love Gully’s vocal intro…love the percussion and strings…I can’t wait to get my copies in the mail, see the lyrics and be able to worship along with the music!

    Thank You!!

  9. John

    Curt and Centricity:
    Thanks so much for allowing us to drink deep of this music early. It is utterly amazing. It is the response of a tender heart in love with Jesus and grateful to be a part of His Kingdom.

    Also, “Love Is A Good Thing” will be added to many people’s list of favorite love songs of all time.

  10. Aaron Roughton

    Thanks for the info. I went and ordered it after listening to it several times.

    I have to confess this will be the first AP record I’ve purchased.

    I identify heavily with “The Good Confession” as a preacher’s kid. I find it to be the most moving song on the album. However, I should also mention that I can’t help but to laugh when I hear it because I think of the “Choir Drama” from the world famous YouTube video…

  11. Kevin

    Thanks to Curt and all at Centricity for the extra special treat. This will be playing at work until I get the CD’s.

    Andrew your gift is immeasurable and I can not tell you how many times your words and music have ignited afresh the kindling that was my heart until I heard them. This CD is no exception and I cant wait to read as I listen.

    Thanks for what I am sure is a labor of love.

  12. Mike

    Wow, thanks Curt, I have to admit though that you have tempted me to sin. I won’t but I am tempted. This is wonderful Jesus honoring digital Peace. Thanks again AP. I’ll know Him a little better now.

  13. Peter B

    Through the second song… can’t talk… grinning… enjoying… loving this new gift.

    The stories are true!

    Exactly what I need right now. Going back for seconds…

  14. Rebekah

    I’m addicted to “All Things New.” I just can’t get enough of the ‘rise up O you sleeper!” that the song begins with.

    I always find that I have to listen to Andy’s music for a bit before I GET how beautiful it is. It’s like the music is just TOO good and I can’t take it in until I’ve become familiar with it. This cd is no different. I was listening yesterday for a few hours as I did some work, and I’d find myself suddenly hearing a line that I’d listened to ten times before, and being floored by it.

    I put the url for the music player on my facebook and a good buddy of mine told me today that he was listening to it and really loving it! Recruiting more fans!!!

    Cheers,
    R.

  15. Tony

    Great review. I am also enjoying the music and the depth of each song. Andrew, keep up the good work You have truly been blessed with a gift of music and storytelling that is unique. I just don’t understand why more people have not been exposed.

  16. Chris from PA

    Nice work… HOWEVER… This comes to me at a poor time… If you hear any of this or ANY of AP’s stuff LIVE it will be hard for you to listen to this on your Laptop… Understand, the profoundness of the lyrics and honesty and incredible instrumentation and orchestral mix of voices hasn’t been touched upon since his “Carried Along” days but if you really want to hear this or any of Andy’s stuff… GET TO A LIVE SHOW. We just finished another incredible show in PA…some showed up from 50 miles away for a second live show in two nights and others from New York…these people know what I mean!
    I can’t wait for my 10 copies to come in so I can share them with those who have no taste and possibly keep one for myself for a change so I can blast it in my Jeep and Mini…But I’m already looking to see where I can see him live again! And every show you get a little different and more making each event worth another. At worst…Ryman…can’t wait….
    Thanks Andy!!!

  17. Peter B

    Chris, my first time to see AP was at the BtLoG tour in 2006; a group of us drove from Dallas to Houston for the evening. Yes, it was worth it… with the special bonus of getting the full Square Peg experience!

  18. Prison Joy

    I keep coming back to hear the new album a little at a time – can’t get through too much without balling my heart out, the music and the message is so real.
    The person who got me out of new age and discipled me in Christ just died and I know he’s THERE … I think God uses even death for His good pleasure… the death of our loved ones draws our hearts to heaven…
    Well, so I’ve bought another batch of copies… 20+ now, to give away… May God use them mightily – I know that’s your prayer, Andrew. I think God has given you even more than before, in terms of the music and the words. That is as it should be: as we keep ourselves humbles before Him and don’t wander off, He gives us more that we can give to the world. Thank you Andrew, for holding onto Him. Joy C.

  19. Churchy

    Curt – thankyou so much for posting the link to listen to AP’s new cd; I’ve dying to hear it…and oddly enough the music/lyrics just about stopped my heart….amazing.

    Maybe his best work yet…every album is profoundly and uniquely encouraging. This one is beautifully devastating.

  20. Profile photo of Curt McLey

    Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    “Beautifully devastating.” I like that description, Churchy. Thanks to everybody that weighed in on AP’s upcoming release. It’s good to be share webspace with people of such great taste. It’s a good way to pass the time while we wait. And wait. And wait.

  21. Alistair Fuller

    This website has become such a profound and reassuring constant in my life over the past months. After a time of great change and upheaval (new home, new job, new town, new baby) and feeling like a wilderness-wandering Israelite for so long, I came across the Rabbit Room and caught a glimpse of the distant promised Land, caught a phrase of its laughter and conversation, heard an echo of its music and, hungry and far from home, saw a plump quail land at my feet.
    Behold the Lamb of God has given a new shape and direction to our Advent and Christmas and Far Country rings deep and true in my heart. Sadly, though, here in the UK, I cannot find Andrew’s music for sale. I tried to order it via this website but was unsuccessful. I sit here listening to Resurrection Letters on Centricity and longing to hear Canaan Bound and so much more…
    I would love to listen to more of this joyful, soulful,hopeful, hesitant, faithful, questing, questioning, searching,elegant, complex, simple, lucid, elusive, immediate, poetic music that I seem to hear as much with the heart as with the soul. How can I do this? Do you have UK outlets for your music?
    Trust me, we need you.

  22. Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

    Andrew Peterson

    @andrew

    Alistair,

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad to hear that you found the website, and that it’s been good for you. As for buying the album, I think there’s some distribution in the UK, but not for all the records. Your best bet would be to order it from here (the store manager will probably email you about the extra shipping across the pond), or to get iTunes and download the albums there. Last I checked, all the regular albums are for sale there–if you’re not digitally inclined I’m sure someone here could help you figure out how to download the program, buy the songs, then put ’em on a disc.

    I hope we can come play in England soon–we thought we might work it out this year, but it didn’t happen. In the meantime, you’re always welcome in the ol’ Rabbit Room.

    AP

  23. Leonie

    What an incredible journey and blessing your music has been to me. It is almost impossible to put into words how God’s profound work through you has encouraged and strengthened me. It has been quite an epiphany and resurrection for me. Your music is a language that i can relate to in my own experience, the lyrics have inspired me and in so many profound ways; been confirmation to me in my ministry. i am overwhelmed by the beauty of your new album which i have been so hoping for. Behold the lamb of God has been such an inspiration and encouragement to me to follow the creative path God was leading me down, which has come to fruition this week. i would love to share with you the artworks God inspired me to create telling the Christmas story. In the same way this new album and lyrics are such a powerful confirmation and encouragement both personally and in another series of works created earlier this year.
    Just this last week i have made many more steps on a long journey, it has been a week of overwhelming ‘Godincidences’ and resurrection so very profound and overwhelming and thank you for your creativity that you share with us , we are so very very blessed.

  24. Mark L.

    Light me up just like a birthday cake – yeah yeah!

    Curt – I love your writing and your heart. I totally agree that Andrew’s music is unique in that the songs often take months of listening to in order to fully appreciate. It’s like a painting that you enjoy at first, but the deeper you look you see and appreciate more subtleties and it makes you love the painting even more. I feel like Love & Thunder grew on me the most and became one of my favorites (though, I love all of Andrew’s CD’s deeply).

    The only thing about this review I’m not sure I agree with is “Andrew is better”. I’ll call it new and fresh and awesome and different, but I can’t call it better. My favorite CD of all time (not just AP) is Walk. If I remember correctly, I think this was recorded in a garage or something like that. I don’t know if Andrew thinks or speaks too highly of that one, but I connected with it at a deep level and I thought Andrew’s heart came out and I thought it was beautiful. The sound quality might not have been as good and Andrew may have been off key once or twice (I can’t really recognize keys so I don’t know) and it may have been his version of the Little Drummer Boy, but I loved it the same.

If you have a Rabbit Room account, log in here to comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *