Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Resurrection Letters, Vol. II - Andrew Peterson

An inspired work that further develops Peterson’s worshipful side

Resurrection Letters, Vol. II
Artist: Andrew Peterson (www.andrew-peterson.com)
Label: Centricity Records
Length: 11 tracks/42:49 minutes

Resurrection Letters, Vol. II by Andrew Peterson may be his most inspired work. If The Far Country (2005) had more of a rock edge, this is more acoustic. If Appendix A: Bootlegs and B-Sides (2006) was raw, this is more polished. The songs that deal more directly with the resurrection theme are some of most fully-developed tracks that Peterson has done. Strings add to their elegance.

This release also furthers Peterson’s worshipful side. “Invisible God” reminds me of Rich Mullins’ “The Color Green.” Peterson strings together a series of images from nature set against a haunting background. Whereas “The Color Green” has more driving force, this is quietly beautiful.

What makes “Hosanna” striking is the context. Peterson’s descriptions of depravity highlight the meaning of the word, which means “save us.” The cry does not come from a heart enamored with its own goodness.

“All You Ever Need” compares the blood of Jesus to host of obscure Biblical metaphors: the widow’s ore, the leper’s river (Jordan) and Elijah’s fire. It’s also enough to fill up every jar. At last, some fresh pictures worthy of such a lofty theme.

The song that pursues like the man it is named after is “Hosea.” This is one of Peterson’s finest songs, demonstrating that he is one of Christian music’s best songwriters. This is sung from the perspective of the prophet Hosea’s wayward wife, who is never mentioned by name. She tells the story of how her husband’s steadfast love turns her heart of stone to a rose.

Hosea’s humanity is poignantly depicted when his wife recalls how he came to her “like a silver moon with the saddest smile I ever knew.” It’s a small reflection of the strength of God’s love, which never wavers. It’s an exquisite depiction of grace.

For those who love honesty and humility—the two go hand in hand—there is “The Good Confession.” It’s a reminder that those in the spotlight struggle with the same temptations and sins common to all. It’s safe to say that this will never be the theme song for the positive confession movement. What makes it endearing is its playful candor.

This CD is so likeable that you may want to get Volume I. Alas, Volume II is Andrew being his usual creative self. It says that these songs deal with the reality of the resurrection in everyday life rather than the event itself. At the moment, Volume I is only in the planning stages. It’s hard to imagine a prequel eclipsing this, but Peterson has the gifting and ability to pull it off. This is one artist whose entire catalog is worth checking out.

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