Burning Edge of Dawn
The Burning Edge of Dawn
Disclaimer: I’ve been a huge fan of Andrew Peterson’s music since “Carried Along” released, right around the turn of the century. Nothing in his latest project, “The Burning Edge of Dawn,” has served to change my opinion that Peterson is one of the most eloquent singer/songwriters of the 21st century.
That’s not to say that Peterson churns out the same ol’ same ol’ on album after album. Indeed, one of the things that has most impressed me about Andrew Peterson, the artist, is his remarkable ability to grow, evolve and mature. “The Burning Edge of Dawn” is without a doubt Peterson’s most mature and vulnerable CD to date.
Listening to it is, at first, like sitting down to coffee with a dear old friend you haven’t seen in many years – at once familiar yet mysterious; joyously tentative and strangely uncomfortable, but oh so welcoming. There is so much from the past that joins you together; so much that you’ve experienced separately that keeps you at an arm’s length. That time sharing a cup of coffee is necessary to catch up, to bridge the gap, to re-establish that easy rapport you enjoyed from days gone by.
“The Burning Edge of Dawn” is something of a concept album, not exactly a hipster thing to do in this day and age. The thematic image of The Sower emerges periodically, reminding the listener that that life is fleeting; we are born to die; but that death isn’t the end – it is a sowing that has the potential to produce a harvest.
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone. Selah.
The project kicks off with the evocative imagery of “The Dark Before the Dawn,” and offers up the first glimpse of ‘The Sower in the silver mist.’ Peterson employs a gently rocking piano line on the tune, reminiscent of Bruce Hornsby, to fine effect. He carries that reliance on piano forward on the equally evocative “Every Star is a Burning Flame.” Peterson channels Rich Mullins on “We Will Survive” with a sweet hammered dulcimer. I happened to listen to this song immediately after seeing the trailer to the film, “The 33,” and I thought, ‘Wow, this should be the song playing over the closing credits (if you haven’t seen the trailer, check it out here).
I could go on and on. There’s not a throwaway song on the project. From the gut-wrenchingly poignant, “The Rain Keeps Falling” to the sweetly encouraging, “Be Kind to Yourself,” to the soul-bearing confessional, “I Want to Say I’m Sorry,” Peterson leaves no emotion unexplored.
But the one song that just refuses to leave my playlist is the closing number, appropriately titled, “The Sower’s Song.” It starts off mellow enough, and in amazingly poetic language, examines the details of dying-to-self in order to produce a harvest. When you listen to it for the first time, about two minutes into the song, crank up the volume. Trust me on this one.
My recommendation: Buy three copies of this CD: one for yourself, one to give to a friend (he or she will thank you for it), and one to replace the copy that you are going to absolutely wear out from playing it over and over again.