Andrew Peterson writes songs, books with equal skill

burning edgeBy JASON REYNOLDS

Tennessee Christian News

Well-rounded Christian recording artist Andrew Peterson is releasing a new album in October that includes a family element: his 15-year-old son Asher on the drums.

Peterson’s album, “The Burning Edge of Dawn,” features 10 songs that he wrote between February to May of this year with friend and producer Gabe Scott of the Crowder band.

The Middle Tennessee resident says that although he did not write the songs “off the cuff,” the process was much faster than normal. Having written only one song before going to the studio, he had to perform the songs for the first time in preproduction because he had just finished writing in another of his genres — fiction books. He had just finished  writing “The Warden and the Wolf King,” the final book in the award-winning “Wingfeather Saga” series. He says he was creatively spent by the point but had to press on because of the album’s tight deadline. So he wrote the other nine songs in the studio. Those songs describe his current life experiences.

“Most of the songs involve my wife somehow,” Peterson said. “I’ve had a lot of change lately, but she is the voice of reason.” Many of the songs deal with God’s voice of assurance being with us. His wife keeps telling him good things are coming.

One song, “Be Kind to Yourself,” is written for his 13-year-old daughter Skye. “She is growing up fast. She is talented and emotional. But she does not understand herself, like in the movie ‘Inside Out.’ She can be hard on herself. The song says be kind to yourself.”

As if writing a book series and cutting a new album were not enough for a family man, Peterson maintains an online community for creative people called the Rabbit Room (www.RabbitRoom.com).

“The Rain Keeps Falling” features singer/songwriter Ellie Holcomb, and two of the songs include background vocals from his friend Caleb Chapman, of the band Colony House.

Peterson’s last project, “Light for the Lost Boy,” received rave reviews from several media outlets hailing the project as “best album of the year,” and garnered two 2013 Dove Award nominations. His previous project, “Counting Stars,” debuted at No. 1 on iTunes, and No. 6 on Billboard. His single, “Dancing in the Minefields,” reached the Top 10 on the Christian AC chart, while the video for the song has received well over one million views online. In December, Peterson will embark on his 16th annual Behold the Lamb of God Christmas tour.

For more than 20 years now, Andrew Peterson has been about the business of quietly changing lives in four-minute increments. In the city of Nashville where music is an industry, Peterson has forged his own path, refusing the artistic compromises that so often come with chasing album sales and radio singles and creating instead a long line of songs that ache with sorrow, joy and integrity, and that are, at the end of the day, part of a real, ongoing, human conversation.

“Most of these songs didn’t exist about six months ago,” explains Peterson. “Usually I’ll piece together an album from songs I’ve written along the way, but this time I went into the studio with about a song and a half, looked at Gabe (the producer) and said, ‘Well, here goes nothing.’ It meant that I had no choice but to write about exactly what’s happening in my life right now, in real time. And what’s happening is that I’m seeing the first glimmers of sunrise after what feels like a long, painful night. These songs are about joy.”

The album release concert for The Burning Edge of Dawn will be held at Peterson’s 6th Annual Hutchmoot 2015, Thursday-Sunday Oct. 8-11 at Church of the Redeemer in Nashville. Peterson will perform the album’s music on Friday, Oct. 9 at Nashville’s Grace Community Church. For ticket information, go to http://hutchmoot.com.

The Rabbit Room website describes the Hutchmoot as an “annual gathering in celebration of books, music, and works of art that tell the truth beautifully. It’s not a workshop, it’s not a networking convention, and it’s not an elitist cohort for uber-intellectuals. It’s for anyone – anyone – who’s drawn to the good and the beautiful and the true.”

The “Wingfeather Saga” is a four-book fantasy series Peterson started about 10 years ago after he read the Harry Potter and Narnia books to his children.

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