“Oh, now it makes perfect sense.” That is what my friend said to me after discovering my reason for accepting a small ‘unpaid’ venture in august. My husband and I have agreed to shepherd a group of college kids for a couple of days while they do kitchen crew at Windy Gap. If you have followed my blog long enough, you know that I love camp. And Windy Gap, the Young Life camp in North Carolina, is one of the most happily situated sanctuary’s you could ever find in the NC mountains.
In spite of loving to be at camp for any length of time, and even though WG is one of my hubby’s favorite places in our home state, these are not the main reason’s why I jumped (sky-high, I might add) at the opportunity to tag along on this retreat in any capacity.
It is because on Thursday evening, I will be attending a private Andrew Peterson concert!
I love Andrew Peterson’s music. For the past three years, we have attended his Christmas concert, and I’ve dragged my family to the location 2 1/2 hours early in order to get a good seat. It is not really sitting up close that inspires me to leave at a ridiculous time. It is because I’m simply too excited to sit still. So much so, that I cannot sleep the night before, and from the moment I arrive, I begin taking pictures of random things to fully capture the experience of the evening. here’s an example….
Yesterday, Andrew released his new album, called Counting Stars.
How could it not be, really? Though his music is listed under his name, Andrew Peterson is not a musician who over confidently stands alone. He has surrounded himself in friendship and community with some of the most amazing artists and music producers in Nashville, TN. Everything he puts out is genuine and is marked with excellence. From the deep thoughtfulness of his lyrics, to the musical arrangement of the strings, piano, percussion, and sometimes on this new album…the subtle and settling nature of the french horn. To uncover the treasure of his music is to discover a trove of what i feel is the best of what Christian music has to offer.
Names like Jill Philips, Andy Gullahorn, Ben Shives, Andy Osenga, Michael Card, Sara Groves, Gabe Scott, and many more.
Attending one of his concerts is an experience you should not pass up, if afforded the opportunity to do so. Particularly if you are able to sit up close. Andrew Peterson makes a concerted effort, though a very natural one, to make eye contact with all of those around him. It is not for show or to boost his public relations rating. He simply enjoys watching you, enjoy his music. Your presence means as much to him, as his music means to you. It is a very rare thing to see that kind of connection between a performer and his/her audience.
The last time I saw him in concert, he ended with the song, Many Roads which is the first song on his new album. I was immediately caught up in the magic of his imagery, and how he communicated the reality of God’s hand in the small details of my life. The song also describes what I was trying to convey above about how special you are as a listener and participant. Not just to him and his music, but ultimately to The Creator of all Life and in the journey of faith. After leaving the show in December, I looked everywhere for a recording of that song, and am ecstatic to finally have it.
I guess you would classify AP as a folk artist due to the melodic range of his voice, though he is nothing like the images that are conjured up by that genre. He is very humble and personable in his music. He is honest and real about what it is like being a Christian walking the road of faith on this side of heaven, which honestly is what draws me to his song writing.
No matter what the day or the circumstance I find myself in, whether i’m discouraged, lonely, lost and needing an anchor for my soul. Or if i’m full of gratitude, joy, and contentment in all that I have been given, Andrew Peterson is always able to draw me into the ‘bigger’ story.
To me, being close with his music is like having God in my iPod. His words and music can always take me to another place. A place where I feel my story matters, and is redeemable. A place where God is so very near, and loves me deeply.
****This is AP’s video from a song on his new album. It’s about finding beauty and purpose in the commitment and struggle of marriage.