There are very few musicians whose CDs I’d buy without listening to them first.
Andrew Peterson tops my list.
His lyricism paints vivid pictures, portraits of the hand of God on this land and the lives of his people.
As he sings in “Lay Me Down” on his new CD, “The Far Country,” “The music of the mountains is still keeping me awake,” and that vitality hums beneath and inside every song.
“The Far Country,” is not as “bluegrassy” as his previous album (not counting his recent Christmas CD), the starkly beautiful “Love & Thunder.” Instead, there is more pop bubbling on his new release, especially in the radio-friendly title song.
And he uses it to talk of death.
He longs for a heavenly home in the title track. He speaks of his burial in “Lay Me Down.” He meets “The Queen of Iowa” who was “dying on a couch in the suburbs.” He sails beyond this world from “The Havens Grey.”
But there remains a joyfulness, an expectation of happiness, cascading through his songs. These songs are not morose.
I’m no expert at picking out musical influences, but I think I hear a little Paul Simon in “The Queen of Iowa” and some Bruce Hornsby in “Little Boy Heart Alive,” which cites “The Chronicles of Narnia”:
Take a ride on the mighty lion
Take a hold of the golden mane
This is the love of Jesus
So good but it is not tame
Peterson’s music truly reflects the love of Jesus, in that it also is good, but also isn’t tame.