Ten years have passed since Andrew Peterson was inspired to write and record a complete album about the effects of the resurrection of Christ. Resurrection Letters was the chosen title, but Peterson also felt compelled to add the words Volume Two (buy) at the time, knowing that one day he would go back and, God willing, write another complete album on the actual events of Easter weekend.
A full decade later, Volume One (buy) is set to hit shelves, and its every bit the musical gift you’d expect from an artist as talented and substantive as Peterson. On the eve of its release, we sat down to chat with Peterson about how the beauty of Easter was implanted on him as a kid and how he hopes to do the same for his three children.
CCM Magazine: When you head in to write and record an entire album about Easter, does that sort of creative limitation make things easier for you or more difficult? Are you inspired by having creative rules already in place?
Andrew Peterson: Yeah. I was just listening to an interview on NPR with one of the writers of The Simpsons. It was fascinating. He said because it’s an animated show, the writers can do anything they want. They can time travel, anything they want. Then he said that it’s the hardest writing job he’s ever had, because there are no limitations. I thought, “Oh yeah, that’s what it feels like when you go in and make a record without any theme.”
Back when I was younger and I had a little more fire, it was new and I was just writing songs constantly. We’d go into the studio to make a record, and I would just pick the best songs and then look for the theme that tied them all together. That would turn into the album’s title. That changed with the Christmas record, Behold The Lamb Of God (buy), and The Far Country (buy) was probably the next one. On those, it was like, ‘No, because of what I feel like the Lord is doing in me, I’m actually going to try to write from this theme.’ I think that I look for limitations. I enjoy putting a fence up and seeing what we can build inside this area.
CCM: Is this something you practice in general?
AP: A few years ago, I was at a retreat with Kathleen Norris, the author. She’s a poet and somebody said, “If we wanted to learn how to write poetry, how do we start?” And she said, “Start with sonnets.” I remembered that last year and decided for Lent to take on writing a sonnet a day just as an exercise, as a discipline. Man, it’s been so fun. It wakes up like the same part of my nerdy artist brain that I imagine Sudoku does for math people.