It's become cliché to say it, but Andrew Peterson is a born storyteller. Looking back on Peterson's life, one might notice the winding road of adventure, littered with books, journals, movies, and songs. Compelled to communicate and create, Peterson found inspiration and beauty in the work of authors, songwriters, and poets thateven as a boyfueled imagination and his own personal backyard dramas.
Peterson was a child who loved adventure and embraced it. When he wasn't staging make-believe wars with G.I. Joe and his comrades, or building forts from scrap wood, he was getting lost in the maze of Hardy Boys mysteries, C.S. Lewis' enchanted Narnia, and Tolkein's hobbit-lurking Shire. Throughout adolescence in rural Florida, those vivid stories stirred Peterson's imagination.
Fast forward a few decades, and we discover that Peterson's love of storytelling has remained a compelling and vital part of his life. A look into the Peterson home on a typical evening reveals a father holding court with young sons Aedan and Asher and their little sister Skye. The power of words and funny accents keep the children's eyes riveted on their father while he reads them a tale. The next night, we find the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter standing in the heat of a lonely spotlight on the edge of a distant stage spinning talesstories that his captivated audience will discuss and remember long after the curtain goes down. Later, in the solitude of his study, Peterson begins writing yet another chapter of his forthcoming adventure trilogy, The Wingfeather Saga. Before dawn, he revises the lyric from a new songwriting project, which will reflect depth, clarity, and truth.
While critics and supporters routinely suggest that Peterson now carries the lyrical torch first lit by the late Rich Mullins, careful observers will note that Peterson's body of work, though sometimes reminiscent of great writers such as Mullins, is now substantial and consequential enough to stand alone, without obligatory comparisons.
As a songwriter and recording artist, Peterson has been prolific. In the span of ten years, he's managed to write and record seven thoughtful, literate projects which supporters and critics agree, have progressed in quality, depth and richness. Peterson's music has secured accolades and awards beyond what one might expect from one man and a guitara Dove Award nomination for the song Family Man, the top ten song Nothing to Say, regular appearances on year-end lists of top albums from publications such as CCM, Christianity Today and USA Today.
As one might expect from a writer of such quality and substance, Peterson's projects are filled with evocative imagery, captivating characters, and an ambience that is vivid and palpable. In recent projects, such as Behold the Lamb of GodThe True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ, Love and Thunder, and The Far Country, Peterson extends his work even farther. In these projects, we discover stories that sustain an impressive thematic consistency. Over time, as one discovers nuance and layers in the perfectly paced text, we realize the planning and vision that must have been invested in these projects. In the end, one is left with an unmistakable conclusion: These projects are more than a hodgepodge of random songs; they are works of art, with the capacity to evoke deep yearning and emotion.
While Peterson is a Christian, his work isn't always overtly spiritual. Drawing from the example of the writers he loved as a boy, Peterson's work can be easily appreciated by anybody, because at their core, his narratives drip with common humanity. His stories reveal vast and vibrant places and characters. Those who know Peterson or have attended one of his concerts will tell you that he's as down-to-earth as they come, often the first to poke fun at himself, confess his shortcomings, or candidly speak his mind.
Maybe it's that same passion for truth and candor that leads Peterson to courageously explore themes that are familiar to our own lives, but often unspoken. In Peterson's prose, we discover ourselves. His words give wings to concepts that wound and bind us inside or bring great joy. Truths begin to resonate because they have been skillfully communicated with style and specificity. The more we look, the more we see. Discovering art that expresses our deepest heart and soul with such beauty is exhilarating because it gives voice to what we know to be true, but may not be able to express.