Album Review :
Andrew Peterson - The Lost Boy Sampler
Artist: Andrew Peterson
Title: The Lost Boy Sampler
Label: Centricity Music
Release Date: 4/23/13
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Carry the Fire
- Break it All the Way (New Track)
- Day By Day
- Come Back Soon
- The Ballad of Jody Baxter
- Don’t You Want to Thank Someone
- Shine Your Light on Me (Demo)
- The Cornerstone (Demo)
- Rest Easy (Demo)
- The Voice of Jesus (Demo)
- You’ll Find Your Way (Demo)
Andrew Peterson’s album Light for the Lost Boy is possibly one of the albums I’ve listened to last year that came out at me from left field. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d listen to this folk-acoustic artist if you would’ve told me this time last year, but after listening to ‘Rest Easy’ and hearing a lot of rave reviews on the album in general, I had to see what all the fuss was about. What was the product of some genius lyric writing possibly in the same realm as artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, Jason Gray and Nichole Nordeman were some of my favourite songs I’ve heard throughout the year of 2012, inclusive of one of my favourite tracks of 2012, the 10 minute heartfelt, emotional and encouraging anthem ‘Don’t You Want to Thank Someone’. Capturing a 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; Andrew’s musical work, especially his latest album, as given me such an admiration and respect for the songwriting process, and for songwriters in general. So much can be said in an album without using the grandiose musical instruments like the electric guitars as most of Andrew’s recordings utilise instruments that I myself may not necessarily had heard before, from the banjo to possibly the sitar (from what I’m hearing in many of the songs… I’m not sure?). Now releasing his B Sides album on noisetrade (which includes 5 songs from Light For the Lost Boy, 1 song that didn’t make it on the album, and the remainder 5 songs released in demo acoustic form), this is a must download for any Andrew Peterson fan, or even if you’ve just enjoyed his latest album, like I have. Hearing to his songs in demo acoustic form has allowed me to fall in love with some of his songs over again, from the first single ‘Rest Easy’ to the current and more recent hit ‘You’ll Find Your Way’.
With the album seemingly divided into two (the acoustic demos and the re-released tracks from his previous record), the Andrew Peterson enthusiast will immediately gravitate to track 2, ‘Break It All The Way’, a song that could’ve been on his 2012 album but wasn’t. Starting off with a kick drum and a mandolin guitar pick that picks up into a riveting guitar-like hook, Andrew showcases his musical skills and delivers one of the catchiest and edgy songs on the album. Confronting as Andrew relays to listeners that many of us, Christians included, can be hesitant to ask God to come in and heal us, mend us, even tear down the things in our lives that are destroying us so that He can rebuild us again; as we realise that ‘…my heart is cracked and needs repair, and the beating is rough but I don’t care, and I wanna be well but I’m not prepared to say ‘break it all the way’…’; the musicality of the song and its sophistication is certain to entice and bring listeners in as they become confronted, and hopefully inspired and courageous to take the step and ask the Lord to do in their hearts what He longs to complete and accomplish. While it was a shame that the melody wasn’t on his previous album, the song still has an acoustic-folk vibe to it, and fits right at home in and amongst the demo songs just as well. With heartfelt honesty and hopeful anticipation, ‘Break it All The Way’ calls us all to open our hearts with vulnerability as we let the God of all creation and knower and lover of every part of us inside our deepest parts, giving Him full access to the hurt, broken, ugly, even broken and ‘unfixable’ parts of us as we watch Him weave together something beautiful from the dust and wreckage we so often harbour inside of us, not letting go in fear of being judged or not even being loved by those we care about in the first place. A song that’s destined to become one of my favourite Andrew Peterson songs ever, kudos Andrew for a job well done!
The rest of the album, either acoustic demos Andrew presented in its original form before editing and post production or as fully mastered re-released songs from Light for the Lost Boy, are each destined to strike a chord with both Andrew Peterson fans and new-ish listeners alike as we are given a glimpse into the recording process as we compare 5 songs finished and mastered to the other five that have been placed on the album as a ‘demo’, yet in my mind, from listening to each of these five tracks I can safely say that these songs and their emotive effects are anything but ‘demo’. While I could go on a dissect each track and review the entire album (it has already been done, by me, during September last year), I will say that Andrew’s new album is a unique experience, and many of the demo songs I enjoyed more than the original, especially the two singles ‘Rest Easy’ and ‘You’ll Find Your Way’. With the album providing a sense of comfort, not just through its lyrical themes and messages but also employing musical techniques and instruments that’s ought to relax and remind us that ‘…you don’t have to work so hard, you can rest easy, you don’t have to prove yourself, you’re already mine…’ (‘Rest Easy’); the album really has been a treasure to hear and listen to. If you can only buy one song from either this album or the 2012 one…who am I kidding- this album is on noisetrade, just download it all! But seriously, if you only want one song, then ‘Don’t You Want to Thank Someone’ is a great somewhere to start from. 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 our 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 the first song on Light for the Lost Boy, but the 4th song on this album, as 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.
Overall: Listening to this album, even though 10 out of the 11 tracks I’ve heard before, has been a great joy to listen to, and since it’s on noisetrade and for free (you can donate if you want), it’s a great plus too. Whether or not you are a fan of Andrew’s or even his latest album, one cannot argue that he is a terrific and powerful songwriter, certainly within the realms of other great songwriters, like Bebo Norman, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jason Gray and Nichole Nordeman. While not that publicised on radio stations like K-Love or Air1 (I can’t remember when I’ve heard ‘Rest Easy’ or even ‘You’ll Find Your Way’ on either of these channels), I’m sure Andrew, along with Jason, will fill the shoes left by Bebo Norman as he leaves the music industry at the end of the year. With this album (along with the newly recorded track) 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; Andrew’s heart for counsel through music is evident in each and every song, sometimes even more so with just an acoustic guitar and his voice throughout the latter half of the album. While not necessarily the most publicised album released this year (or even last year for that matter), this album is certainly a necessary release, reminding us of the child inside of us, innocent and hopeful, longing and eager to experience life, yet can sometimes be lost amongst all the busyness and grown-up issues and difficulties us humans all face. One of the most prolific, relevant, honest and captivating song writers for his generation, Andrew’s skill at creating stories through song shines on both his 2012 and 2013 albums. Well done Andrew for such an inspired and enjoyable album, and though all but one song I’ve heard before, this album is still one of my favourites this year!
RIYL: Jason Gray, Bebo Norman, Steven Curtis Chapman, Nichole Nordeman
Download the Album: Noisetrade (possibly a limited time offer)/The Rabbit Room Website