BEYOND THE MUSIC- BEST OF 2000: Andrew Peterson Has Something to Say

Andrew Peterson has had a very busy year. His first national release, Carried Along (Watershed Records), was released with rave reviews. He has had two Christian Radio hit singles with, Nothing to Say and The Chasing Song. In my opinion, Andrew has emerged as one of the year’s best new artists. His acoustic based style draws on influences of folk, pop, and Gospel, including such artists such as Rich Mullins, James Taylor. His music has appeal that transends the ‘Christian’ label. Recently, Andrew shared some stories of life, faith, and Christ.
Andrew and wife Jamie, moved to Nashville from Orlando three years ago to get out on their own. “Jamie and I had intended to be free spirits in a lot of ways. The first several months here we didn’t have a dime. Jamie, rather than get a teaching job, decided that she wanted to help me and the music. She wanted to be able to travel with me. So, she babysat and I waited tables for several months…and tried to book concerts. Nothing was overwhelming for us. We really has a sense that we were being taken care of.”
On Andrew’s calling to do music, he said; “I’ve had a kind of confirmation that what I was doing was something that pleased him (God). I felt like if God put me on this Earth and gave me these talents I wanted to use these talents for him.”
Andrew got his “big break” when he met up with Caedmon’s Call via the Internet; “I met Derek Web on the internet. I had just gotten their (self-titled) CD. I really liked it a lot and appreciated the songwriting on it. So, I posted a message on their message board on their website; just thanking them for their lyrics and just kinda let Derek know how much their songwriting ment to me. He happened to post a message back to me about five minutes later. Of course, I was excited about that and thought, ‘Wow!’ and posted a message wondering if he wanted me to send him a CD because I had an independent CD recorded. So, I ended up mailing him a CD. I met him several weeks later at a concert. He remembered me. We ended up talking and he invited us out to eat with the band afterward. I kissed up and asked if I could open for them and told them I’d be honored if they let me play music before their concert. The rest, I guess, is history. For whatever reason, the guys in the band supported us so far above and beyond what any band I imagined could do.”
Later Andrew spoke about the Church, as reflected in his song “Come, Lord Jesus”
“I have a great respect for it and I think it’s easy to bash the Church. The Church was something put here by God and it deserves our respect. Whatever criticism that I’ve had is done hopefully in a way that would encourage people to fix the problems. In the song “Come, Lord Jesus” I voiced some frustration that there tends to be some Pharisees in the Church. The song talks about Matthew Shepard, the homosexual that was killed in Wyoming. It mentions the fact that I saw a People magazine and saw some pictures of “Christians” and picket signs that read ‘God Hates Fags’. One of them said “Matt in Hell” It was really disturbing to read that sign and think ‘this is how the world sees Christians, and how People magazine sees the Church. They look at this one Church that completely missed the point. I felt a huge overwhelming sense of frustration that after 2000 years this is as far as we’ve gotten. The second verse is my reminder to myself that I’m sinful too, that we have to start with ourselves. My biggest frustration with the Church is that I feel like the Church tends to miss the point. If Christ was at the center of our worship again we would see an incredible revival in the Church.”
Andrew also shared about the challenges of spending time with God; “Yes, life gets the better of me at times. A week goes by and you realize that you haven’t sat down and prayed. Then two weeks go by and I realize ‘when’s the last time I read my Bible, not because I had to’. It gets harder, the busier you get… all these things kind of pile up. The other side is that I know myself well enough to know that I’m gonna do the things I really want to do. Sometimes I don’t really want to read my Bible and pray. Sometimes I lack the drive to really long for the kind of companionship with God that I should have. That’s a spiritual problem that a lot of us have. I’m starting to have more sympathy with the people who’ve fallen. I realize that unless you’re very careful you’re setting yourself up to sin in a huge way. I’m thankful that I have a wife who’s with me all the time. I’ve got kids (Aedan and Asher) who are always around me. I’m always conscious of the fact that they’re watching every move that I make and that I need to be a good father and spiritual leader for the family. So, hopefully I’m surrounded by enough people who love me and are honest with me to where they’re gonna make sure that my spiritual life doesn’t fall to the side.”
In the new year, Andrew will be recording his second album for Watershed Records. Andrew talked a little about his growth as a songwriter; “Thank God, He’s given me some ideas, new melodies and some songs, stuff that I’m really excited about. I could tell that there’s been a little bit of growing and stretching. It’s pretty scary because the second album is the ‘make it or break it’ in a lot of ways. It’s a little bit tougher.”
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