Between the Dreaming and the Coming True
Bebo Norman triumphantly expands his acoustic sound on his fifth major studio release, Between the Dreaming and the Coming True. Inspirational yet daring, Norman rides a wave of new instrumentation to thrilling heights. The title is taken verbatim from a book by Robert Benson about discovering God amid deeply troubling circumstances. Like the book, the album arrives at peace but not before exploring what it takes to get there. While many of Norman's previous songs (including number one hits "Nothing Without You" and "Disappear") were written during times of strife, material on this record strikes a hearty balance. Ultimately, to his credit, he never lets joy supersede the insights of an ardent journey through difficulty. Norman's contagiously emotive vocals fuse with layers of electric guitar, strings, accordion, piano, synths and occasional drum loops. The new sound is partially attributed to songwriting partner Jason Ingram, whose songs have found their way onto records by Sonicflood and Rebecca St. James. The partnership proved successful almost immediately, as the duo penned "Bring Me to Life" after their first day of collaboration. "I Will Lift My Eyes" was released as the album's first single, but most if not all of the ten remaining tracks perform well as stand-alone efforts. From the surging opener "Into the Day" to the fragile admission "I Know Now," the lyrical content strives to echo personal sentiments on a grown-up level. It digs past surface-oriented worship and hits pay dirt with deeply felt calls to God. "Time Takes Its Toll on Us" easily brings to mind Marc Cohn's smooth raspiness, while the down-home goodness of "The Way We Mend" and "To Find My Way to You" recall secular counterpart Edwin McCain. Regardless of comparisons, Between the Dreaming is a fine feather in Norman's cap, a marquee performance for an already-seasoned artist.