Exploring trEnds in thE christian music industry By Beau Black What’s next Though best known as a singer-songwriter in the Rich Mullins/Michael Card/Toby Keith vein, Andrew Peterson, like a number of his contemporaries, has taken up writing in a different medium. “Long before I ever picked up a guitar,” he says, “I always wanted to write some adventure-fantasy stuff.” Finally, he did; and the results were two well-received young adult fantasy novels On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! or Be Eaten. For Andrew, it took a journey to get there—a bit of an adventure, perhaps: “The impetus [to do so] came when I read the Narnia books to my kids. It was about a five-year process between when I drew the first map and when I want to Barnes & Noble and saw it on the shelf. It became kind of a night job. I’m kind of in the same boat now writing the third one [in his Wingfeather series], shooting for early 2011.” Andrew Peterson Writing down the stars Peterson’s brother Pete, also a writer, published The Fiddler’s Gun to strong reviews. “I’ve told people for years that my brother’s a way better writer than I am, and I’ve started to get emails from people saying ‘you’re right.’” He [Pete]’s credited as A.S. Peterson on the book and is now finishing his second. Both Petersons and several other writer friends have teamed up to create the Rabbit Room online community (www.rabbitroom.com). The unusual moniker has a hallowed origin: “It’s the name of the room in the back of the pub in Oxford where [J.R.R.] Tolkien and [C.S.] Lewis would sit and tell their stories.” “We’re trying to see the world through the lens of story [and] encourage each other to write well and tell stories well—that we would be a light in the darkness,” he says. The group has planned its first conference/retreat/ gathering (already sold out) to be held at Nashville’s Church of the Redeemer this fall. For Andrew Peterson’s new album Counting Stars he tried to avoid the high-concept territory his last three records explored. Though it’s not a concept project, “themes emerge when you write whether you want them to or not…The first half of the songs [is] about family and community; the second half is about despair and the struggle to hold on to hope.” He points to one favorite, “World Traveler” (“I love how that turned out”), which was inspired by a discovery in his backyard. “It’s the perfect analogy. When I was young, I thought the adventure was in leaving. Now that I’m a father and husband, the deepest adventure is in staying put—in another’s heart and not in the Grand Canyon.” Coming and going, Counting Stars is musically interesting and sonically accessible, yet complex enough to reveal true artistry. Add to that lyrics that seem to illuminate the very heart of Andrew’s family and so many others around the world, and this album clearly sets Peterson apart. 54 CCM