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You Against You: A Concert Review

Around this time last year, Eric Peters played a concert in Murfreesboro, TN that I was planning on attending, but bad weather, a long work week, and sickness conspired against me and I wasn’t able to make it. So when Eric posted on his website a couple months back that he would be playing at the same church again this past Friday, I immediately added it to my calendar. I’d heard Eric play a good bit back when the Square Pegs were playing weekly in-the-round shows at the now defunct Radio Café here in Nashville, but hadn’t seen him play a full concert until now.

It was well worth the drive over from Nashville. A neighbor of mine, Paul Eckberg, joined Eric on percussion for a twelve song set that included “Save Something for Grace”, “You Can Be Yourself”, “Long Road (to Nowhere)”, and “Bus 152”.

I was hoping to hear him play “Tomorrow”, my favorite song from Scarce:

angel of tomorrow say a prayer tonight when we find ourselves alone afraid of being known and holding on for life

But since the recorded version is accompanied by Ben Shive on piano, Eric doesn’t usually play it with just a guitar.

Last month, I attended the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, and one of my favorite speakers I discovered was Kathleen Norris. Going into her sessions, I didn’t know anything about her. Not until I got home did I notice that Eric had a quote on his Facebook page from her book The Cloister Walk that is the central thought of his song “Save Something for Grace”: “We try to be holy without being human first.” I’ve heard Eric sing it many times, but listening to him on Friday, the first verse jumped out at me like I was hearing it for the first time:

midnight at the stroke of noon when the lights go down and it’s you against you quiet eyes in a blaze of shame like a beast of burden you could never tame

we try to be holy without being human first

In the chorus, he tells us that its okay to be human, that grace is real.

save something for grace /she’s raising the sky save something for faith / there’s hope still in her eyes save something for grace

And in the bridge, my favorite part of the song, he sings,

we live as though mercy were frail and forgiveness merely a tale we condemn ourselves to a fault when we fail, when we fall we find we’re human after all

Eric sang one new song that he wrote for his son, Ellis, “I Will Go With You”, that I hope makes its way onto his next recording. And speaking of his next recording, he is planning on heading back to the studio sometime this summer with the illustrious Ben Shive producing, which gives me great hope for the record. Stay tuned to Eric’s website for updates on what is happening on that front. If you don’t have any of Eric’s CDs yet, you can purchase them on this very site (after saying penance). And be sure to check out Curt’s review of another EP concert recently (with Randall Goodgame), and his review of Scarce here at the Rabbit Room.

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