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Appendix A: Bootlegs & B-Sides

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Apr
Appendix A: Bootlegs & B-Sides
Sounds like … an occasionally rough collection of demos and live outtakes in the same folk-pop spirit as Rich Mullins, Caedmon's Call, Derek Webb, and James Taylor.At a glance … though the album is only recommended to fans because of its scope, style, and quality, there's much to appreciate in this enjoyable album of lost treasures from one of Christian music's most underrated songwriters Land of the Free Bigfoot's Weapons Little Boy Heart Alive Flesh and Blood The Thing About Airplanes Disobeying Orders Alaska or Bust Canaan Bound My Weakness Alien Conspiracy (or, The Cheese Song) Miss Jamie (or, Deerwood Love Song) Eric Peters=My Inspiration Loose Change Live (No Yeah-Yeahs!) Three Days Before Autumn Carolina Doxology (Romans 11) Lullaby Isn't It Love Teaching Serve Hymn Holy Is the Lord Mohawks on the Scaffold My Brother Pete Catch 22 The Ballad of Hansberry Brown

This is the album Andrew Peterson doesn't want you to hear, warning that, "Vomiting and/or nausea may ensue if album is experienced without proper explanation, ventilation, and eye protection." Call it a self-deprecating "disclaimer" for Appendix A: Bootlegs & B-Sides, his first collection of rarities, released independently with the help of Square Peg Alliance, a Nashville-based support group of artists that also includes Derek Webb, Andrew Osenga (Caedmon's Call), and Jill Phillips.

Some of the tracks on this 77-minute album are indeed rough. Generally, the older the live track, the poorer the sound quality. And some of the demos do sound dated, like "Lullaby," a bittersweet elegy recorded after his wife's miscarriage during sessions for the 1996 indie album Walk. Or "Miss Jamie," as Peterson celebrates his wife's first teaching job after college by speeding up his voice, cutely pretending to be a fifth grader.

However, the album is worth enduring for its many unearthed folk-pop treasures and spoken word interludes. Worthwhile demos include the worshipful "Doxology," the communion anthem "Flesh and Blood," and "The Thing About Airplanes," a touching love song from 1999's Carried Along sessions. Several live tracks celebrate Peterson's best songs from the last seven years with excellent performances, particularly "Canaan Bound" (performed with Alison Krauss) and "Holy Is the Lord." There's also a hilarious ode to Mexican food ("Alien Conspiracy"), satirical potshots at church protocol ("Mohawks on the Scaffold"), and a poignant tribute to the late great Rich Mullins ("Three Days Before Autumn").

Appendix A does in fact strongly resemble Mullins' posthumously released Here in America, showing the many facets of a first-rate songwriter and entertainer connecting with audiences through humor, music, and subjects that range from the everyday to the spiritual. In all fairness, the album is recommended only to fans of Peterson's previous work, yet it truly speaks well of his artistry when even the outtakes hold up as some of the most insightful and inspired songwriting in Christian music.

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