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Our annual selections for Best Christian Albums in small part serves as a snapshot of the state of the industry, and what's particularly interesting about this year's list is how many of the finalists seem "outside the box." Many of the artists have a foot in both Christian and mainstream markets without finding runaway success in either, and some of them are established artists who today continue to record and distribute music independently. It all reflects our commitment to exploring the full breadth of Christian music (released between December 2005 and November 2006), not because of their reach, but because of their potential to reach with artistic excellence.

Between the Dreaming and the Coming True

Bebo Norman
Essential Records

Hard to believe that Bebo Norman has been at the singer/songwriter game for ten years already since the release of his independent debut. He's bought ten more for his career based on the strength of his sixth album—a solid step forward and a slight reinvention of sorts. Twenty-something coffeehouse troubadours are in plentiful supply, though Norman has always been better than most. But now in his thirties, the folk artist reveals that a heart for beautifully crafted melodic pop beats deep within him. It's a natural progression with his proven ear for memorable melodies, and he matches it with a newfound confidence in the words as well, exploring the journey from fear to faith with hopeful lyrics that are both personable and relatable. Congratulations, Bebo, you've graduated from the college scene into the big leagues.
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The Morning

Andrew Osenga
Square Peg Alliance

If The Normals had only continued after 2002's A Place Where You Belong … ...

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January 2007

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