Posted October 08, 2015
By MaryNikkel_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Veteran artist Andrew Peterson has established himself as one of the most skilled songwriters in the business, crafting his lyrics in the tradition of writers like Rich Mullins through compelling imagery and striking honesty. His latest album The Burning Edge of Dawn demonstrates the way this sound has been honed, allowing Andrew to offer up strikingly mature and stirring lyricism.
The opening title track's bridge sets the tone for this album with a perspective suspended between the aching realities of heartache and the truth of a Kingdom present now but not yet fully realized: "I had a dream that I was waking at the burning edge of dawn / and all that rain had washed me clean / all the sorrow was gone." "We Will Survive," which is augmented by a delightful folk tone through dulcimer and its storytelling manner, expresses the same tension in the lyrics "tell me the story I still need to hear, tell me we're gonna make it out alive again / I need to know there's nothing left to fear, there's nothing left to hide."
Some of the songs on the album prove startling, uncovering concepts in ways the listener may never have heard before. "Be Kind to Yourself" talks about our human propensity to put ourselves down and self-sabotage, becoming our own worst enemies. The song encourages the listener "you've got to learn to love, learn to love, learn to love your enemies too," even when the enemy is yourself.
Musically, the album is soothingly organic, with steady melodies building from dynamic piano beds and gently placed guitar. Melancholy "The Rain Keeps Falling Down" (featuring a well-suited vocal appearance from Ellie Holcomb) is an example of this style, its introspective musings and cry for peace smoothed by strings. The musical arrangements demonstrate the power of restraint, displaying a persistent refusal to add anything to a song that doesn't absolutely serve its core musical and lyrical concept. "My One Safe Place," a poignant and tender track written for Peterson's wife, also displays this intentionality.
Every single line and lyric on The Burning Edge of Dawn could be isolated, printed on its own and still savored as poetry. There is not a single empty frill in Andrew's chosen rhetoric; the rich sense of vivid wonder grounded in a deeply redemptive theology suggests what it might have sounded like if cornerstone faith author C.S. Lewis had written songs instead of books. More than just being an artistic feat, this is an album full of songs for weary and wandering hearts to cling to this side of the dawn. The Burning Edge of Dawn holds easily the strongest, most grace-drenched songwriting you will hear this year.
Song to Download Now:
"Be Kind to Yourself" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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