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Andrew Peterson
[ love and thunder ]


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Love And Thunder - Click to view! The murmuring crowd of young lovers coo at one another over lattés, frappucinos and cinnamon buns. An unassuming young guitarist takes to the stage with a small band of co-writers, friends and hired instrumentalists. He whispers into the microphone before motioning to Ben Shive, pianist, and the two launch into "Canaan Bound." The crowd, still absorbed in themselves, murmur on, until the music overpowers them. The song's lyrical tapestries are too vivid. They hush themselves and remain silent for the ensuing 40 minutes.

The guitarist sings of Biblical characters (Abraham and Sarah in the opening number), the hidden blessings and stresses of married life ("Family Man") and Grandpa Peterson ("Tools"). He breaks their hearts, makes them laugh, and plants seeds that will blossom years down the road. He is rarely obvious, but never totally ambiguous. The audience comes away from each song knowing exactly what was meant to be said. They are introduced to someone named Jesus, a Father worthy of praise, and to a hurting musician's heart that has been shattered and rebuilt.

Big names like Alison Krauss, Steve Hindalong (co-producer of his album, on sale after the show for $15), Andrew Osenga (of The Normals) and Cliff Young (Caedmon's Call) come and go from the stage, grinning and shaking hands with the front man before leaving, whispering wishes of wellness before he launches into the next song. The audience scarcely notices.

They are captivated, however, by the carefulness with which each song has been crafted, and feel obligated to give as much care to their listening. They are warmed by lines like "After the last disgrace / After the last lie to save some face... There is love." They cry as they listen to this song, and are told, "After the last tear falls / There is love."

They clap enthusiastically as the show ends. They turn from their seats in the front row to see that a crowd of about 200 has packed the tiny coffee house, and see that mascara is running as freely as the java. The singer blushes as they rise to their feet, points to the others on the stage and claps in their various directions. He takes his guitar, packages it up and walks in the direction of his wife, three children and their 1992 Chrysler mini-van. The youngest beams and says, "I like your songs, daddy." They haul off for the next of 150 tour stops.

The audience heads through the darkness to their own cars, pull out onto the road and drive in silence. There is no self-indulgence now, no mindless chatter. The evening replays in their minds and plays on their consciences and in their spirits. The caffeine's affects are unnoticeable. They say goodnight and head off to bed. And for some reason they pray.

In the morning they rise early and meet each other at a place they never thought they'd be the night before: church. They grin awkwardly and say, "That singer guy was really great last night. What was his name again?"

"Andrew something."

"Yeah. Andrew."
- Ben Forrest
May 2003
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