Peterson's writing also shifts between subtle and more explicit examples of faith. There's a gentle-but-passionate simmer to "Don't Give Up on Me" reminiscent of Johnny Cash or even U2, but the true appeal is finding ourselves in the lyrics about unconditional love. Is it directed to a spouse or another loved one? Is it sung to God? Is it God the Father singing to Jesus? To us? The uncertainty is part of the song's charm. In contrast, "All You'll Ever Need" demonstrates Peterson's mastery of scripture by comparing the miracle of the blood of Jesus with other miracles by Elijah and Elisha found in 1 and 2 Kings. Who else in Christian music these days, besides Peterson, takes two biblical illustrations to make a third?

The songwriting is terrific from start to finish, whether noting how resurrection in all of life is an ongoing transformative process in "All Things New" or offering flowing, poetic praise to our "Invisible God." With "I've Got News," Peterson offers tongue-in-cheek honesty about how we all sin and fall short by starting with himself, then making the point that we all can relate to hurt, temptation, and a need for God. And it's obvious which book of the Bible "Hosea" comes from, but Peterson writes it from Gomer's perspective, and thus drives home the scriptural illustration by making her words our own confession to a patient and loving God.

Add to the skillful songcraft a veritable who's-who of folk-pop artists. Longtime friends/collaborators Ben Shive and Andy Gullahorn co-produce—they're joined by Jill Phillips, Andrew Osenga (Caedmon's Call), Pierce Pettis, Don Chaffer (Waterdeep), Gabe Scott (Bebo Norman), and others. The album is overflowing with talented musicianship. Sonically, however, the songs often resemble Peterson's past work, which is less a complaint than an observation. Part of what made The Far Country so good was it pushed Peterson a bit outside of his musical comfort zone. This album serves more as a return to form, going back to the typical folk-pop arrangements of Peterson's earlier albums. Good, but nothing new, per se.

Taken for what it is, however, Resurrection Letters, Volume II proves Peterson to be consistently excellent. Though not necessarily his best, it's close enough to draw an enthusiastic recommendation. Yes, Peterson may be a unique voice, but it's precisely why we need him to set an example in Christian music.

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