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Bebo Norman
[ myself when i am real ]


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Myself When I Am Real - Click to view! What would you say if I asked you, “What are you really like?” For a minute, you’re tongue-tied. Then a torrent of words is unleashed, and you excitedly race through random thoughts, trying to explain to me what you’re really like on the inside. After a while we both realize that this isn’t working: my mind can’t follow yours as it jumps from thought to thought. We stop, and start over, this time with a different question. “What is in your heart?” The answers that follow probably sound a lot like what Bebo Norman has to say on Myself When I Am Real.

Myself When I Am Real is a revealing album. It allows us to see deeper into Bebo’s soul, and what we see is that he’s not that much different than the rest of us. He wrestles with the same things we do. Crying out to God, he sings “Please don’t go away … I need beautiful You.” “Great Light of the World” shows his human shortcomings: “I’m half a man here, so come make me whole.” Continuing a self-portrait that rings true with the rest of us, he expresses age-old longings. “Tonight, I want a wife, to sit with me and watch our children play,” he sings on “Where the Trees Stand Still.” On “My Love” he wonders if his future love will leave because of the crowds. Worries crowd him in and dreams fall by the wayside as plans prove false.
God, You know I can’t do this on my own. Come save me. Lord, You know I want to love. Give me a wife … in Your time.
It’s not all longing and pleading, though. Bebo bounces with delight on “Our Mystery” as he revels in the salvation and love we’ve been given. “Falling Down” tells the joyful story of Angel, who sees her need for a Savior and is being pulled towards Him. The prodigal is welcomed home in “Back to Me”: sinners are forgiven and treated like kings by a gracious Father. Worries may abound, but they are all washed away.
God, thank You for Your grace. Show me more every day.
Behind these themes is an acoustic backdrop that soothes and surprises. Ed Cash, as usual, provides fresh and entertaining production, throwing in twists here and there that make the songs come alive. A couple of tracks feature some dancing banjo lines, and Sandra McCracken’s beautiful backing vocal nearly steals the show on “Where the Trees Stand Still.” Yet, what stands out the most is the friendly vibe of the music. Is it possible to sit in on a quiet party with Bebo’s band? Close your eyes while listening to Myself When I Am Real, and you might think you've died and gone to Georgia. Or at least Ed Cash's living room.
God, Your joy is amazing. Make me dance forever to Your music and the music of those who love You.

Oh, one more thing. Teach me to party like Bebo.
- Jason Ewert
October 2002
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