Big Blue Sky
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2001 1 Jan
Bebo Norman is clearly one of Christian music's brightest rising stars. After a successful introduction via regular touring with Caedmon's Call (you might call Bebo their artistic cousin), Bebo's first album,
That's not the case with Big Blue Sky, a far less brooding (and dare I say fun) album that treads the line between acoustic folk and roots rock/pop. The album's first single "I Am" is all-around terrific—upbeat, positive, and encouraging. It sounds more like his hero Marc Cohn ("Walking in Memphis") than anything else he's ever done. And yes, you are indeed hearing some electric guitars in that song, as well as on "Cover Me," which features soft synthesizers and a heavier guitar-driven pop/rock chorus for Bebo in a song about how God oversees everything from the heavens to the corners of our hearts. Likewise, "You Surround Me" is a simple love song that also features a more electric-guitar-driven Bebo than we're used to, not to mention a vibrophone riff that gives the song some unique color.
Another highlight is the mid-tempo roots-rock feel of "Tip of My Heart," which explores that desire we all have for something deeper and more meaningful in our life. A personal favorite for me was "Break Me Through," a prayer for God to cut through the loneliness we experience and grant us peace in its place. Of course, if you find yourself missing the softer acoustic side of Bebo, fear not—there's "Perhaps She'll Wait for Me" (singles everywhere are sure to embrace this one) and "Where You Are" (a beautiful song written for Bebo's mother). I think it serves as a real testament to Bebo's songwriting skills that an album such as Big Blue Sky can come across as fun and hopeful despite so many songs dealing with loneliness and wanting. In part, you can credit that to Bebo and producer Ed Cash's desire to push their musical horizons a little further this time—and you can't ignore his gift for effectively sharing through song the hope we have because of Jesus Christ.
For the record, I believe there's something critical to say about every album because it's impossible to please everyone. Big Blue Sky may be a "louder" album than