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Peterson Shoots Clear to Venus
by Andy Argyrakis
Take a simple acoustic rock approach, in vein of Bebo Norman and Caedmon's Call, and a writing style along the lines of James Taylor and Marc Cohn and you get the multi-talented Andrew Peterson. This singer/songwriter/guitarist is no stranger to Christian music circles since his nationally distributed label debut in 2000. His first disc Carried Along landed on CCM Magazine's Top 10 critic's picks list and also sent the hit "Nothing to Say" blazing up the charts.
But the somber, mild tempered Peterson is the furthest thing from a rock star that would eat up such accolades. Instead, he appears casually dressed, often blending with the crowd he performs in front of, and has an off stage demeanor that is simply down to earth. For Peterson, it's not about industry hype and album sales, it's just about connecting with people one on one and getting them to identify with what he sings. That's why he's so thankful to have a second chance to get his music in the hands of fans with his upcoming Clear to Venus release.
The project also lands on the Essential Records imprint Watershed Records and features several clever songs with storybook lyrics. Yet Peterson, who covers everything from King David writing a song on his throne during "Song and Dance" to losing his luggage on "Isn't It Love" to life through the eyes of a penny on "Loose Change," isn't all that confident with his songwriting abilities. "I have no idea, honestly, how I do this," he laughs. "I wish I had it worked out into a formula because if I did I'd probably write more. I'm not a prolific writer, just someone who spends a lot of time with ideas floating around in my head." Although the tracks from Clear to Venus are sung with such ease and casual swagger, Peterson reveals the process was a lot more painstaking than it may appear. "The writing process is frustrating to me," he continues. "I like having a song written way better than I like writing one. There is a degree that I like the tension that comes with having to complete a song, but I'd rather have it done so I could share it with people."
Peterson will certainly get
to live out his hopes of sharing this new batch of tunes with people all
across the land. He's embarking on a headlining tour playing churches and
colleges this fall. Even though he spends 150 dates on the road, he makes
sure to keep his family at the center of his life by taking them with him.
That's certainly not easy with the strains of the music industry, but thus
far, Peterson's learned by trial and error. "There is a lot of uneasiness
involved when kids are thrown in the mix," he reveals. "Decisions have
a lot more weight because you are responsible for a wife and two kids.
But I've never been so distracted [with them on the road] that I didn't
want to it to be like that. They are more important than anything my career
could bring, and I wouldn't have it any other way."