Album Review :
Andrew Peterson - Light For The Lost Boy
- Come Back Soon
- The Cornerstone
- Rest Easy
- The Voice of Jesus
- The Ballad of Jody Baxter
- Day by Day
- Shine Your Light on Me
- Carry the Fire
- You’ll Find Your Way
- Don’t You Want to Thank Someone
With many album releases on August 28th 2012, one can be forgiven with forgetting to name this release in the list together with Eye on It (TobyMac), Welcome to Daylight (Luminate), My Only Rescue (The Museum) and Only You (Karyn Williams). However despite the low-key nature of this album compared to others released in August, folk/acoustic artist Andrew Peterson has managed to unveil 10 tracks of honesty and poetic imagery as I find myself impressed with his songwriting ability and imaginative metaphors as his 2012 release, Light for the Lost Boy, reminds us of a love the Father has, that He’s offering out so that we can ‘…rest easy, you don’t have to prove yourself, you’re already mine…’ (‘Rest Easy’). Reminding me musically and lyrically of Jason Gray and Sara Groves, this reflective album full of lyrical motifs is a great one from left-field in terms of the enjoyableness I received from listening to it, considering I hadn’t listening to anything from Andrew’s prior to Light for the Lost Boy. With such hopeful melodies and gentle assurances ready to sooth the soul with reminders of God’s great love, this is an album destined to become a standout in 2012 as I once again broaden my musical tastes and become much more appreciating of folk music (especially the type Andrew sings!). With ‘Rest Easy’ providing some of the most comforting and freeing lyrics since Matthew West’s ‘Forgiveness’, Andrew’s 10 tracks give me an eagerness to explore his previous albums, and an anticipation for his albums forthcoming, confident that God will use these melodies to speak remind listeners of the Lord’s great love, ‘…the voice of Jesus calling you back home…’ (‘The Voice of Jesus’).
‘Rest Easy’ is the first single from the album and is one of my favourites too. Reminding us that ‘…you don’t have to hide your heart, I already love you, I hold it in mine so you can rest easy…’, Andrew sings from God’s point of view, giving a timely reminder for us not to strive in whatever we do. Sometimes in our lives, we can slip back into a works theology, the ‘do-more-try-harder’ motto, when all God calls us to do is indeed to rest easy. Sometimes hard for us to just be still and rest in His presence, this banjo prominent song is a great reflective melody as it imparts to us the importance of rest. As Andrew offers up some wisdom in a recent NRT interview, ‘…God wants us to rest in Him because His love is unending. I’m 38; I’ve read the Bible, grew up in the church, and I’m still liable to think that God doesn’t like me because of my sins…many Christians live afraid of God. My hope is that this song will call people to rest…’ I am amazed at how this easy-to-sing-along song can be equally as poignant as Andrew delves into the issues of work and grace, striving and resting, doing and just being in Christ’s presence. Well done Andrew for this though-provoking track and one full of hope that we are already redeemed through Christ!
‘Carry the Fire’ is one of my other favourites on the album, not just for it’s rhythmic percussion, but also for its hopeful message. Written for a dear friend who’s going through a tough time, Andrew reminds us of a sense of community as he declares that ‘…I will carry the fire for you…’ Providing someone with a word of encouragement, or maybe even carrying their ‘burdens’ or being there during the season when they’re needing you the most even when they cannot even believe in themselves is a certain theme to take away from this melody- that even when hope seems lost, there are friends around us, and even God, to help us through. This is a journey and a race, and the notion of carrying the fire is a great motif, of pressing on when the road seems long, or the way is windy. As Andrew gives us comfort that ‘…the reason this record’s called Light for the Lost Boy is that I’m hoping its songs to kinda help light the way for people who are on a hard journey…’ we see the encouragement through ‘Carry the Fire’, among others like the piano driven melodies ‘The Voice of Jesus’ and ‘You’ll Find Your Way’. Starting right away in ‘The Voice of Jesus’, Andrew pierces through our hearts as he brings to light things we may have been feeling for a long time with ‘…I know you’ve been afraid, don’t know what to do, you’ve been lost in the questions…’, presenting us with the reality of our hurts and fears. But just as the title suggests, God’s voice is the remedy that squashes all our doubts and worries, with Andrew intricate in the process of comforting listeners through his serene piano and his soothing vocals full of poetic rhythms of surrender, asking ‘…the silence to still you…’ ‘You’ll Find a Way’ also offers peace and encouragement, with the song about a father farewelling his son, possibly as he goes to a college far away. Guiding him on the journey of life and the lessons he needs to understand to survive the ‘…bright fields of joy, dark nights awake in a stormy bed…’, Andrew gives listeners equal hope and motivation to ‘…keep to the old roads…’, the ones that may not necessarily be the flashiest, or the quickest, or even the ones where everyone travels, but nevertheless, the road will certainly leads us to ‘…find your way…’ Reminding me of the narrow and wide road metaphor, Andrew gives us a stirring song full of relevance to our own journeys, be it physical or spiritual, as we travel this life holding onto the lessons imparted to us by our elders and even the Father Himself. Well done Andrew for these lyrical gems!
‘Day By Day’ immediately sounds like you’re stepping into a running motif filled with Peter Pan and J.M. Barrie references, but beneath all the ‘Peter’s’, ‘Wendy’s’, ‘Neverland’ and ‘ticking clock’; I am surprised at how relevant Andrew creates this melody to be, and how it reminds us of a child-like existence, and how as we transported into an atmosphere full of youth, hopefulness, longing and happy memories, we can sing along with Andrew as he proclaims that ‘…it hurt so bad, but it’s so good to be young and I don’t want to go back, I just want to go on and on and on day by day…’ As we are living out our lives full of adventure, seeking and hoping that even the innocence we had when we were younger is trapped and waiting to come out rather than just gone forever, Andrew reminds us through the acoustics that in everything we live through and accomplish, we don’t have to ‘…lose heart, though your body’s wasting away, your soul is not, it’s being remade day by day…’ As we are always running away from the clock that reminds us of our mortality, we are given a hope of the things yet to come as Andrew gives us solace through the heartfelt woven poetry full of hope and perseverance. ‘Come Back Soon’ is the first track on the album, and though I are plenty of poetic moments in the verses, the chorus is very clear and direct, a cry of longing as Andrew understands that ‘…we wake in the night in the womb of the world, we beat our fists on the door, we cannot breathe in this sea that swirls so we groan in this great darkness…’, a metaphor full of hurt and anguish as we as humans try to escape from this world of troubles, hurts and misunderstood moments of awkwardness. Andrew gives a soul cry, aptly titling this song ‘Come Back Soon’, a prayer to Christ for deliverance, from the place in which we live so that we can hide ourselves in Him. But it is the 10 minute album closer, ‘Don’t You Want to Thank Someone’, that really strikes my heart to become one of my favourite songs of the year. Full of intense imagery and emotive moments of honest thankfulness, there are moments throughout the song where Andrew cries ‘…don’t you want to thank someone for this?…’, a sense of honour and respect to the God who creates beauty in places of pain and heartache, making a broken heart heal amidst the piles of dirt that seem to hide our hearts every so often. Andrew creates a masterpiece of realisation that ‘…it’s a better thing…to be more than merely innocent, but to be broken then redeemed by love…’, as we immerse ourselves in understanding the full impact of God’s ransom for us- that understanding Jesus’ sacrifice may take more than what innocent minds can comprehend, and that’s ok. Redemption from the broken is going to come, and as Andrew invites the Lord to ‘…come back soon…’, a homage to coming ‘full circle’ and starting with the plea spoken at the start of the record, we are able to journey along with him, from the Fall to Forgiveness, to the fruitful harvest of the faithful followers of the Lord God our Redeemer and friend. A well rounded song echoing the coming of Christ to a world displaying a dichotomous nature of beauty and disaster, ‘Don’t You Want to Thank Someone’ is inside the Top 10 songs of the year of 2012!
Overall: This album is different than much of the pop/rock contemporary Christian music, with most songs on Light for the Lost Boy lyrically driven with acoustics, keys and emotive lyrics the primary focus through Andrew’s music. There is a moment in the biographical song of ‘Shine Your Light on Me’ that is just as poignant as ‘Don’t You Want to Thank Someone’- ‘…shine your light on me, be a light unto my path and a lamp unto my feet…’ As I understand that Christ is with me, shining His own light as I journey this trek of Christian life with Him, I can start to live out life with a wonder (that’s beautifully portrayed through this album), with Light for the Lost Boy as the motivational spark to remember God’s extension of His grace and my freedom in just resting in His presence! Even I myself had a little bit of an apprehension when I came to reviewing (or even acquiring) this album- I saw the rave reviews this album was obtaining; decided to download the album and as I listened, I smiled- I definitely had to review this album, glad that I took the plunge and allowed myself to be open to Andrew and his music! One of the most lyrically comforting since Bellarive’s The Heartbeat and Audrey Assad’s Heart, Light for the Lost Boy captures the similar theme to Brandon Heath’s Leaving Eden, how as humans we fell away from God’s perfect plan, and the lament and hurt the Father must’ve had, and still has for those who are trying to move along through life without Him. The album is for the hurt, the broken, the lost, and the frail, the ones who are searching, seeking, even hoping for a speck of light to come fall upon a room of darkness. Well done Andrew for one of my favourite albums of the year!
RIYL: Steven Curtis Chapman, Audrey Assad, Sara Groves, Jason Gray