Mini-Review: Andrew Peterson – Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ (2004)

Andrew Peterson

Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ

Label: Centricity Music

Release Date: October 5th 2004 (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Gather Round, Ye Children, Come
  2. Passover Us (feat. Jess Ray)
  3. So Long, Moses
  4. Deliver Us (feat. Scott Mulvahill)
  5. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  6. Matthew’s Begats
  7. It Came to Pass (feat. Andy Gullahorn)
  8. Labor of Love (feat. Jill Phillips)
  9. The Holy and the Ivy
  10. While Shepherds Watched
  11. Behold the Lamb of God
  12. The Theme of My Song

Initial thoughts: Andrew Peterson, one of the most heartfelt CCM artists since Rich Mulllins, unveiled to us a Christmas album of virtually all-original material (except for O Come, O Come Emmanuel) way back in 2004. Though basically an album of unknowns- with no carols whatsoever, this offering by arguably one of CCM’s most underrated and lyrically proficient, is an album full of hope, encouragement, and for me personally, one of the most iconic Christmas albums in modern CCM history.

Reason to listen: It’s Andrew Peterson. I’d dare say that he’s the modern-day Rich Mullins. Because a lot of his songs, be it Christmas or otherwise, shows a great skill of songwriting and a deep sense of longing and hopefulness that comes through in his lyricism. If you haven’t listened to Andrew Peterson at all, then maybe this is not a good album to start from- maybe After All These Years, a 2014 compilation album is a good step into the realms of CCM/folk that is so desperately underrated and under-represented.

Reason to buy: Do I need to give another reason than it’s Andrew Peterson? Seriously, this is by far one of the artists in the last year or so that has risen to the top of one of my favourite CCM artists, ever. Do yourselves a favour and check out a few songs by Andrew Peterson (namely, ‘Don’t You Want To Thank Someone’ and…well, all of the 2012 album Light for the Lost Boy), and then go back and buy, yes buy, this 2004 Christmas album. You’ll thank me…not later, but you’ll thank me, maybe even now!

Reason to skip: No reasons at all. Andrew, who isn’t a household name, even within the Christian music industry, should be. Andrew’s knack at delving deep into lyrics and analysing them with great profound knowledge, is something that every other CCM musician can dream of having.

No. of carols: 1

No. of originals: 11

No of guest artists: Jess Ray on track #2, Scott Mulvahill on track #4, Andy Gullahorn on track #7 and Jill Phillips on track #8

Does it have heart?: Very much so. Andrew’s enthusiasm is off the charts, and his poignant nature and hopeful melodies that allow us to see the wonder and beauty of the Christmas story, is something that sets this album apart from every other Christmas album I’ve heard in a long, long time.

Does it have a Christmas-y atmosphere?: With only one Christmas carol, and no holiday tunes, one can find this album a difficult one to get through, because of the low sense of familiarity. Nevertheless, the atmosphere of it being a tranquil and poignant Christmas/worship album is very, very strong, and once someone gets over the idea that this album is an all-original (except for one) album, then they can enjoy the album for what it is all the more- one of CCM history’s most prolific and powerful works of song anyone has heard in years upon years.

Uniqueness?: See above paragraph- this is a very, very unique album. So much so, that this 2004 album was re-recorded in its entirety and unveiled to us again in 2019. While the 2019 version and the 2004 original recordings aren’t that much different, the very concept of re-recording a 15 year album, speaks volumes to that 2004 album- it’s that good to be re-recorded again, and unveiled and hopefully geared towards a new generation of people.

Christmas message: Just look at the work of Andrew and you can see- this is by far one of the most Jesus-explicit Christmas albums I’ve heard, and I’m certainly all the more for it. Andrew’s transparency and willingness to deliver an album that showcases the Christmas story as we all know it, but in a way that delves deeper into people’s feelings, is something unique. Though there’s no ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ or ‘O Holy Night’, the song ‘Labour of Love’ has become some sort of a Christmas anthem over the years, with a cover of it released in the late 2000s by vocal group, Point of Grace.

Closing thoughts: Andrew’s released a gem of an album, that can also be listened to and enjoyed, even outside of the December Christmas season. If you’re a fan of Andrew’s body of work, this is a must-have. If you’re a fan of music with deep introspection, then this album is also for you. Basically if you’re a fan of music, period, then Behold the Lamb of God ought to be on your Christmas playlists, now, and always in the future!

3 songs to listen to: Behold the Lamb of God, Deliver Us, Labour of Love

Overall rating: 5/5

Yes/no; why/why not?: A most resounding yes. Sure, it may take a few listens to really understand the deep introspection present not only in this Christmas album but in every other Andrew Peterson album ever, but this collection of 12 songs are some of the most emotional I’ve heard in quite a while. Do yourself a favour and get this album pronto, in whatever way you can. Being introduced to Andrew and his music may just be the highlight of 2020 thus far!

NOTE: This Spotify playlist above is the 2019 re-recording of the 2004 album.

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