the birth of ‘behold the lamb’
It was an unforgettable evening in April 2000 when Andrew Peterson stood with his guitar on the Ryman Auditorium’s historic stage, a long velvet curtain behind him and a humble regard for this sacred ground. With the ghosts of yesteryears’s Grand Ole Opry dwelling among the rafters, Peterson performed what was then his top ten single, “Nothing to Say,” and left the audience overcome.
After applause subsided, industry veteran Gary Chapman who was emceeing the showcase wiped away tears, admitting that not since the late Rich Mullins had he been so moved by an artist, and that Peterson was indeed following in Mullins’ footsteps.
Almost five years later, Peterson’s keen eye for lyrical detail and endearing (if occasionally foot-in-mouth) sincerity with his listeners are not the only things that liken him to Mullins. More than ever, he’s been pouring over the Bible stories he learned while growing up a preacher’s kid, and making them into songs.
Comparisons aside, Peterson’s October 2004 release of Behold the Lamb of God represents a truly original accomplishment. Though his songwriting has always been Scripture-based, Peterson wanted this album to be even more focused. A departure from typical Christmas recordings that center on holiday classics, his album peers deep into the Old Testament, walking chronologically through the historic events that culminated in the birth of Christ, and conveying them artistically.
“I love stories—everything from movies to paintings to novels. And the thing is, the rest of the world is pretty much the same way. That’s why we pay eight bucks to go to the cinema. That’s why we love to cry and laugh and root for the underdog. That’s why Boston loves the Red Sox,” Peterson contends. “My hope is that my music captures a hint of the beauty of God’s story. With this album, I tried to squeeze it into about ten songs. “
Never one to shy away from a challenge, this thirty year-old artist has spent his eight-year career making the kind of records that turn songwriting into an artform. His last three national releases on Watershed/Essential Records, Carried Along (2000), Clear to Venus (2001), and Love and Thunder (2003) have established Peterson as one of Christian music’s quintessential storytellers. Behold the Lamb of God promises to continue that tradition. The songs on this distinctive project (distributed by Fervent Records) have been crafted by Peterson over the past five years, and feature the musical contributions of Jill Phillips, Ron Block (of Union Station), Ben Shive, Andrew Osenga, Todd Bragg, and Garett Buell (of Caedmon’s Call), among others.