Andrew Ripp is an artist’s artist. He speaks from the heart and his voice is strong, unapologetic, courageous. His courage comes from a willingness to look fear directly in the face and sing in spite of it. From “Jericho” to “Rejoice” to his brand new record, Evergreen, Andrew spins songs like stories we all know, and that’s why we’re singing along.
We had a beautiful conversation with Andrew while filming Our Story Our Song, and because we can’t fit it all into one episode, we’re taking you behind the scenes. Catch the full episode at YouTube.com/RootandVine and be sure to subscribe, like and comment for more live music.
Where do you find awe and wonder these days?
My daughter is a sense of wonder to me, she’s just such a beautiful reminder. She’s two years old and everything is a first. I watch her watch me and she’s in wonder of me just picking up my guitar and playing something that I do without thinking, taking a walk down the street… She notices a cloud in the sky and she literally puts her hand up in the air and goes ‘Wow!’ When she does that, it just takes me back to when I was a kid, and how all of the circumstances and responsibilities and being an adult hadn’t hit me yet. And I’m like, that’s still there.
Your daughter is already finding her own sense of wonder in nature, do you get outside a lot together?
In the season we’re in right now my wife and I wake up in the morning, cook up some breakfast for the little one, and as soon as we’re done with that she wants to go outside. It’s cold out right now, so we’ll start these morning fires. It’s been such a sweet time to watch her play, explore, and just stare at the fire. It’s wonderful.
Is there a Bible verse that’s especially meaningful to you?
‘Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.’ I was rocking my little one to sleep a few weeks ago and sometimes when she crashes you can’t put her down. When she does that I know I’m in this thing for three hours. So I’ll just jump on my phone and look up verses and that one came up. And I just remember thinking it’s amazing that it’s not our job to understand. That’s not the deal. It’s our job to trust. Trust that this thing is gonna work out somehow, in the end, even if you don’t get it. I don’t know. It gives me a lot of comfort. And also, I’ve so many questions. Even as a believer, there’s so many things that, if that day comes where I get to ask God questions, I’ve got a lot of questions. But I’m thankful for that verse. Because I don’t have to understand, that’s not the job. The job is to lean into the mystery. I don’t have the answer. But I think that’s the point.
Could you talk about how you arrived at the songs you’re sharing with us today?
I used to write songs about what I’m going through in my life, almost conversational, but now it’s more about these big themes of what each individual goes through on a day to day basis. A big one right now that I’m stepping into is grabbing onto hope, when it’s been a difficult thing to come by. We haven’t known when the end of this thing’s going to happen. I’m trying to write myself into that future of hope. Not having songwriting sessions happening the way that they used to, I’ve needed to find ways to pull myself into that emotional state and get the emotions out. I’ve almost been using music as my therapy in a way.
“Jericho” is about overcoming fear. What that looked like for me was a moment of being in a panic attack. It freaked me out; I started to understand how people have thoughts of why they would take their life and what that looks like. But then I was able to move past those thoughts and into understanding what fear is and how we can use it. We can actually use fear to propel us into the future and propel us into our dreams. Fear is like this thing that’s in between us and where I believe God created us to be. I don’t know why it’s there. But I do believe that it’s a barrier, for some reason between us and where God’s future is for each individual. Can we figure out how to use it as a compass? Like if you’re experiencing fear, you’re probably going the right way.