Friday, March 30, 2007

Between the Dreaming and the Coming True

Originally introduced as part of a new wave of folk artists, Bebo Norman’s music has gone in a different direction that comes to fruition on Between the Dreaming and the Coming True.

His early Ten Thousand Days release had me seeing visions of another Rich Mullins. But subsequent recordings found him wandering further from folk into more of a pop/rock sound. Though Ten Thousand Days remains a favorite, I can forgive Bebo for straying from folk. This new release is a phenomenal achievement.

When Natalie Grant released Awaken, she took her artistry to a new level. Sophisticated and tight production gave her a bold new sound that was met with critical acclaim. Bebo Norman has now made a similar leap.

It’s not everyday that I find myself immediately "wowed" by a recording, but that has been my experience on almost each of these songs. My sister, a connoisseur of music who favors modern contemporary worship along the lines of Chris Tomlin, Delirious and others, was also impressed.

Though the music may not be entirely original—I hear elements of U2, Coldplay and Chris Tomlin—it’s absolutely delicious. Norman has refined a modern pop/rock sound with an acoustic base to a degree that he never achieved on previous efforts. The production is more polished.

Some songs have an anthem-like quality. He has taken some of the best parts from different influences and combined them in a way that makes this more accessible than his earlier work.

His delivery sounds mature and confident. He achieves a near perfect blend of acoustic and electronic sounds that complement poetic and introspective lyrics.

At times he addresses God directly, making this comparable to some of the best offerings in contemporary worship music. He also turns his gaze to the human condition, producing one of the most delightful and touching love songs ("To Find My Way To You") that I have heard. The dreamy guitars are a feast for the ears.

This is easily Bebo’s best recording and one of the best of 2006.
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