Since his start in music, Bebo Norman has become a voice for the brokenhearted. Norman's music has been distinctly folk-oriented from the beginning, but as it has evolved musically and lyrically, the artist has stretched his limits and broadened his horizons to explore new territory. Upon finding love and marriage prior to his last release, Try, Bebo's melancholy yet often worshipful folk-based pop sound was rebirthed as much more positive and hopeful. His latest project, Between The Dreaming And The Coming True, takes what was started with Try to the next level, while returning to explore more deeply life's trials through a positive light.
BigBlueSky and Myself When I Am Real were decidedly more accessibly written when they released several years ago. Try, although a notably more upbeat record, held more true to Bebo's folk roots. This time around, the changes that come along with Between The Dreaming And The Coming True feel appropriate as the next phase in Norman's musical memoirs. An organ and Norman's friendly and inviting vocal style dawn the opening track, "Into the Day (It's Over Now)," a sort of theme for hope in dark times. Heartache is an inescapable part of life and Norman uses the duration of this album to thematically explore the process of finding hope to keep us going in the midst of trials. Norman's signature folk sound has given way to more full, pop flavorings that seem to aid in the emotion of the songs. He even incorporates the use of an electric guitar on the lead off track as well as the memorable, worship-minded prayer "Be My Covering."
Through melody and Bebo's soothing vocal presence, Norman turns the struggles of life into something beautiful. The cradling arms of "Time Takes Its Toll On Us" and "The Way We Mend" continue to offer nods to the hurting to reassure them that they're not alone through painful struggles. "I Know Now" is Bebo's difficult realization of how freeing it can be to truly lay burdens at the foot of the cross, while "I Will Lift My Eyes" follows in the golden footsteps of such mold-breaking worship brilliance as his previous hit, "Great Light Of The World." Some may dare to say Norman has typecast himself by singing so much about brokenness and pain, but the undeniable truth is that few seem to relate their experiences to song the way this artist does.
Those who gravitated toward his more intimate, stripped-down songwriting are not forsaken. While some tracks, like the openers and "My Eyes Have Seen Holy" for example, are presented on a grander scale than his more humble beginnings, fans will appreciate the inclusion of songs like "I Know Now," "Find My Way To You," and "Sunday." Ten of the eleven tracks are cowritten with another songwriter (eight of them with the help of worship leader Jason Ingram), giving Norman further lyrical reach, but the untrained ear would never know the artist hadn't penned each song solely himself. Enough of what listeners have come to love and appreciate about Bebo shines through on the majority of the record.
A fine addition to an always impressive catalog of music, Bebo Norman's latest venture Between The Dreaming And The Coming True serves as a fair mix between the infectious melancholy folk pop of Myself When I Am Real, and the more upbeat approach the artist took with Try. Once again taking everyday life experiences, from love to heartache to loss, and balancing it out with heartfelt and meaningful worship, it's hard not to want to say that Mr. Norman's done it again.- Review date: 8/30/06, written by John DiBiase
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