Produced by Ben Shive, Resurrection Letters, Vol. I is the prequel (think Star Wars) to the highly acclaimed album Peterson released and Shive produced in 2008, Resurrection Letters, Vol. II. While Vol. II is more about the implications of Christ's resurrection victory over sin and death in our own lives, Vol. I begins with the heartbeat of the resurrected Christ while exploring the resurrection itself and its centrality to Christianity. Ten years in the making, the celebratory new volume is meant to move listeners to a greater gratitude, awe and love for God.
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Revisit the Resurrection| Posted April 03, 2018 Resurrection Letters, Vol 1 is a prequel ten years in the making. Resurrection Letters, Vol 2 came first, describing the way the resurrection of Jesus works its way out in the redemptions we live in our every day life. Earlier this year, Andrew Peterson released Resurrection Letters: Prologue, an EP centered on the crucifixion. Finally, Resurrection Letters, Vol 2 is adding the final puzzle piece by focusing on the event of the resurrection itself.
What it Sounds Like: Resurrection Letters, Vol 1 is what you've come to expect from Andrew Peterson: raw, folk influenced singer/songwriter tunes that rely more on sheer artistry than production bells and whistles. The album stays in upbeat musical territory, which you would expect with the kind of explosive joy inherent in songs like "Risen Indeed," "Rise Up" and "His Heart Beats." This organic musical sound keeps those celebration songs grounded in an earnest earthiness.
Every song on this album is intimately centered on the resurrection of Jesus and what that means. Some songs bring us comfortably home to age-old attributes of Christ, such as in standout congregational "Is He Worthy" and "All Things Together." Others shed light on the resurrection story in a new way, as "His Heart Beats" describes the actual physical process of coming to life and "Maybe Next Year" captures the already-but-not-yet tension of the coming Kingdom of God.
Best Song on the Record:
Although Andrew Peterson seems incapable of crafting anything less than a masterclass in songwriting, "His Heart Beats" rises beautifully to the challenge of describing a familiar event in a way that makes the audience see it in a brand new way. The dynamic, steadily building melody seals this song's status as a stand out.
Although Andrew Peterson released this just in time for Easter, Resurrection Letters, Vol 1 is the perfect way to keep resurrecting joy alive in your heart every day. Every song catches a unique facet of the light of salvation as we encounter it in the living Jesus Christ.
A Gift to the Church| Posted March 30, 2018
Ten years ago, Andrew Peterson, one of our most respected singer/songwriters, was working on an album that he says was more or less on the resurrection of Jesus. As he started working on the songs, he realized that they actually were more about the way Jesus’ resurrection plays out in our lives rather than the resurrection itself. So, the album was creatively titled Resurrection Letters, Vol. 2.
This year, Peterson finally began work on Vol. 1 with producer Ben Shive, who also produced Vol. 2, ten years ago. But Peterson felt it would be odd to write about Jesus’s victory over death without spending writing about his death itself. That led to an EP, Resurrection Letters: Prologue. See my review here.
Now it is time for Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1. And it has been worth the wait. A Deluxe Edition version includes Resurrection Letters: Prologue. Below are a few brief comments about each song on this wonderful collection from one of our best songwriters. His Heart Beats – This joyful song is about our Lord waking up, coming back to life in the grave. It begins with a drum beat that sounds like a heartbeat. It includes piano, drum, acoustic guitar and backing vocals. The Lamb of God slain for us is a lion ready to roar. His work is already done, he has defeated death, the final enemy, and the grave. Death no long has dominion over him. He took one breath and put death to death. The song includes the chorus of the much-loved Matthew Bridges 1851 hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns”.
Key lyric: The blood that brought us peace with God is racing through his veins. Risen Indeed – This is a song that Peterson wrote in 2009 on the Resurrection Letters Volume 2 tour and was saving to record for Resurrection Letters Vol. 1. The song begins with piano and builds with base and drum. He sings of Peter racing to the tomb and then of Jesus speaking Mary’s name. Abraham could not have dreamed of how all of those promises would be fulfilled in Jesus.
Key lyric: He is not dead; he is risen, risen indeed. Remember Me – This song was written by Ben Shive to help himself and his church remember Jesus one Good Friday. There are references to familiar scripture passages throughout. The chorus is based on words spoken by the thief on the cross who came to faith in Christ. “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The uses a creative drum beat throughout, as well as piano and backing vocals. I've Seen Too Much – This song is from the perspective of Peter. He knows it sounds crazy, but he knows what he saw. He saw Jesus die and be laid in the tomb. He’s seen too much to deny Jesus. Though the faithful have been scattered and he is tired and doubt has crept in, he can’t deny what he knows to be true. The song echoes Peter in John 6:68 when he said to Jesus “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”. The song opens with piano, percussion, acoustic guitar and then builds. Remember and Proclaim – This upbeat song about celebrating the Lord’s Supper features some nice guitar work, light percussion and backing vocals. As we gather around the table, break the bread and drink the wine, we remember and proclaim his death until he comes again. Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Maybe Next Year – This song was inspired by Peterson’s recent trip to the Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem. It begins and ends with voices based on what we might hear at the Wailing Wall, and features piano, light percussion, accordion, keys, backing vocals and a guitar solo. Jesus never felt so real to him. He never felt so close to him. We’ll meet in the New Jerusalem someday, maybe next year. Rise Up – This encouraging song is written by Ben Shive. It begins with piano and light percussion and then builds, featuring strings. Await, await the day of His return. Every stone that makes you stumble, every sad seduction and every clever lie will be crushed by the King of Love one day.
Key lyric: ‘Cause He will rise up in the end. He will rise up in the end.
I know you need a savior,
And He is patient in his anger,
But He will rise up in the end. Is He Worthy? - It is rare when that song comes along and from the first listen you know that it is special. That’s was the case with this song, the first song released from the album. Peterson has written that “the chorus is taken from that staggering moment in Revelation 5 when the prophet asks, “Is anyone worthy to break the seal and open the scroll?” He looks around, along with all the hosts of heaven, and when no one is found who is worthy to do so, he weeps bitterly. But then one of the elders says, “Do not weep! Behold, the Lion of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able.” And then the Lamb, looking as if it has been slain, appears at the center of the throne, takes the scroll and breaks the seal, and at once all the heavenly hosts sing his praises: “He is worthy!””
I think this song, is destined to be a song that will be sung for years in churches around the world. The song starts with Andrew’s vocals and piano. It builds powerfully and triumphantly with strings and a choir.
Key lyric: Is He worthy? Is He worthy? Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy of this?
He is All Things Together - The album ends with this worship song about Jesus. He sings about the attributes of Jesus from Scripture. He holds all things together.
The song begins with piano and light percussion and then builds with strings and backing vocals.
Key lyric: He made peace by the blood of His cross.