Lights of Distant Cities
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Average Rating
(12 user ratings) ADD YOURS Help
Release Date
October 23, 2012
BEC Recordings

Style: Subtly programmed singer-songwriter acoustics; compare to Andrew Osenga, Jill Phillips, Andrew Peterson

Top tracks: "At the End of Me," "Collide," "Wine from Water"

Singer-songwriter Bebo Norman self-started a nationwide career in the mid-'90s with his acoustic vulnerabilities, wearing his heart on his guitar to the delight of spiritually sensitive Gen Xers searching for substance among the otherwise oft superficial scope of CCM's programmed pop landscape. And though already a recording and touring vet by the time he signed his first record deal, he became a commercial success selling hundreds of thousands of records, headlining tours, and topping radio charts.

But in every bestselling career, striking a balance between pleasing ever-changing consumer tastes and staying true to one's core—to what endeared the artist to an audience in the first place—is tricky business. And for Norman, a songwriter in the truest sense, the tightrope has been nearly impossible.

For Lights of Distant Cities, his eighth studio recording, Norman, on the eve of his fortieth birthday, recruited longtime friend and touring partner Gabe Scott to co-write the bulk of the album. The collaboration gives Norman's new material an engaging familiarity, covering his experiences and perspectives as a father, husband, and spiritual pilgrim with a fresh and honest take, begging the question why these two have never written together before. Pairing Scott's writing and playing prowess with the hip songwriter-sensitive programming-induced production of Ben Shive (Sara Groves, Andrew Peterson) enhances Lights lyrical transparency while naturally playing to Norman's commercial sensibilities.

For instance, a soiree of effects swarm "Broken," capturing ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Music Reviews By:
Read These Next
Current IssueFrom Jonathan Edwards to Jerry Falwell
From Jonathan Edwards to Jerry Falwell Subscriber Access Only
Pulitzer Prize–winner Frances FitzGerald looks at the long history behind evangelical political activism.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickFinding My 'True Self' As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
Finding My 'True Self' As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
In my young-adult struggle with sexual identity, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me floundering.
Christianity Today
Lights of Distant Cities
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

October 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.