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“Wayfaring Stranger” as you’ve never heard it before — and the family behind the music

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The Petersens - Facebook

Sarah Robsdottir - published on 12/07/22

The Petersens' new album 'My Ozark Mountain Home' called on 400 fans to become their choir, and it "sounds like heaven."

The beloved bluegrass group The Petersens recently released an abbreviated version of the spiritual classic “Wayfaring Stranger” on YouTube in order to give fans a taste of what’s in store for them on their new album My Ozark Mountain Home

The album was released on The Petersens’ website and on streaming platforms on November 18. Within a few hours of “Wayfaring Stranger” being shared on YouTube, it attracted over 50K views, and it’s easy to see why. 

Between Julianne Petersen’s stunning vocals, the family’s svelte accompaniment and the breezy concert setting, a song that speaks joyfully of leaving this life in order to meet one’s beloved family in heaven has been rendered by The Petersens in a truly remarkable way — but that’s no surprise. This musical family has been wowing fans with their takes on classic, modern and original songs for over a decade. 

The family band that *presently hails from Branson, Missouri, consists of band manager dad, Jon; mom, Karen on the bass; siblings Katie (fiddle), Ellen (banjo), Matt (guitar) and “honorary brother” Emmett Franz on the dobro. The family got their start playing together when they stumbled upon a bluegrass festival in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, over a decade ago and were touched by how the music brought people together.  [*With Jon in the military, they moved around a lot growing up.]

Their website answers questions about all kinds of curiosities — from how often they practice their music to thoughts about their Christian faith. It also states their mission: “Discover a more wholesome alternative. A family band that performs American roots music that lifts you up and brings us all closer together.” 

One amazing way The Petersens are accomplishing this goal of bringing people closer together is on the final track on their latest album. Over four hundred vocal tracks from fans were submitted in order to form the choir for “Amazing Grace.” Their banjo player Ellen commented on the profundity of the final product: “The last chorus truly is like a glimpse into heaven when you hear voices from all over the world singing together and praising the Lord.” 

“Wayfaring Stranger,” “Amazing Grace,” and many other classic and modern melodies — including the original title track, My Ozark Mountain Home — are available on The Petersens’ website, as well as streaming services everywhere. 

The Petersons

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