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Light for the Lost Boy
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4 Stars - Excellent
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Release Date
August 28, 2012
Label
Centricity Music

Style: Textured folk-pop; compare to Josh Garrels, Sarah Groves, Rich Mullins

Top tracks: "Come Back Soon," "You'll Find Your Way," "The Cornerstone"

Andrew Peterson has long had a penchant for epic themes, and that's exactly the territory his ninth studio album inhabits. What's new is the brilliant edge to Light for the Lost Boy, delivered by the singer-songwriter's willingness to grapple with difficult questions and by bigger production and wider instrumentation. It's especially the well-placed, moody growlings of electric guitar that give teeth to Peterson's groanings of Creation. (Former Audio Adrenaline guitarist Tyler Burkum does the electric honors.) Peterson's lyrics walk the tightrope of the human condition, at once feeling the crushing weight of mortality and the fierce hope of eternity. After all, the light of redemption shines brightest when set against the darkness of loss.

"Come Back Soon" raises the album's curtain with "the Tennessee flood / The sound of the scream and the sight of the blood / My son he saw as the animal died." The electric production is warm and visceral a la Bon Iver. Just like humanity, this song—this album—is haunted by death. Yet there's a throbbing hope even in lament: "So we groan in this great darkness / for deliverance." And Peterson proceeds to expertly walk the tightrope of brokenness and repair.

True to form, his storytelling is masterful and personal, both intimate and universal. An accomplished children's writer (the Wingfeather Saga), Peterson weaves smart literary metaphors into this music. "The Ballad of Jody Baxter" builds from the protagonist of the coming-of-age tragedy The Yearling. The literal and figurative launching point for "Day by Day" is the birthplace ...

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