Andrew Peterson: After All These Years

Christopher Cocca

I was unfamiliar with Andrew Peterson until reading this review by Adele Konyndyk Gallogly.  For some reason, maybe just the word “folk” and the album cover’s aesthetic, I was expecting something closer to Steven Delopoulos when I fired After All These Years up on Spotify. That said, there’s a sort of deftness to the writing, a lot of ideas and images and call backs you don’t typically hear paired with the kind of production Peterson seems to favor. As a writer, I appreciate the lyrical work he’s doing, and “Don’t You Want To Thank Someone” is an all-around standout with a Rich Mullins feel.  Peterson’s penchant for this-is-how-it-was biography aside, “Dancing In the Minefields,” even as a phrase, is a great metaphor for marriage.

After All These Years develops a lived-in feel as it progresses, and the songs starting with “Don’t You Want To Thank Someone” are generally better than the ones before it.  That could be because, on first listen,  it takes that long to warm to concept of Christian pop-folk, or because it takes that long to hear musical traces of Mullins and even Bruce Hornsby.  Still, forgiving cameos by Illinois on three tracks in a row (if you’re an artist working out faith in public, writing about Illinois, and are not Sufjan Stevens, the deck is stacked against you), the lyrics, as images, are interesting and often nuanced.  Mixed with occasionally straightforward Protestant catechesis, their spiritual appeal will, as with anything, come down to the listener.

Production-wise, Peterson would benefit from a fuller band higher in the mix.  I can imagine these songs getting that kind of treatment live to strong effect.





2 thoughts on “Andrew Peterson: After All These Years”

  1. Thanks for the comment, Chris. I hadn’t listened to Peterson until this album, either–but I have several friends who love his work. Many of them rave about this live Christmas show “Behold The Lamb of God” and are also fans of his fantasy series. So I thought I’d give him a chance. I’m glad I did.

    Like you, I was impressed by his freshly poetic lyrics. Most of the music I listen to tends to be more…subtly spiritual, so I wasn’t sure if it would edge a bit too close to praise and worship in a way that just didn’t appeal to my taste. But there is something brave about an artist unabashedly addressing God and exploring how he is at work in life’s experiences. As you say, these may not be songs on my regular every day rotation. But I can see myself turning to several of them in times of deep sorrow and in times of great joy–times when I may feel at a loss for words myself and so especially appreciate their direct eloquence.

    Your comment about how these songs may sound is spot on, too. Perhaps that’s why his Christmas tour is so popular!

    Thanks again. And happy listening.

    Liked by 1 person

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