Listening to Bebo Norman

Photo by Beckham Photography (pulled from

I’ve been listening to a lot of Bebo Norman lately.   Even though I have piles of new (and wonderful) music to digest, review, and prep for interviews, I continue to listen to my old stand-by Bebo Norman.  When I don’t know what else to do and everything seems all mixed-up in my heart and mind, Bebo’s music is like salve for my wounded spirit.  Something about his music—the chords, the melody, the lyrics—bring peace in madness.  Lately, Between the Dreaming and the Coming True has been a companion in the melancholy.

The first track, “Into the Day” has been particularly inspiring—sometimes bringing tears and other times giving me the strength to make it through the day (or at least brush my teeth.)  This lyric is particularly striking: “The ache of life is more than you are able.  Hold on, love, don’t give up.  Don’t close your eyes.  The light is breaking through the night.”

If you’ve been reading Backseat Writer for a while, you know that Bebo Norman is my favorite musician in the whole wide world!  That’s a pretty important title when you consider the sheer amount of music I enjoy!  The first time I interviewed Bebo Norman by phone I was trembling and sweaty.  The phone rang and I could barely answer it.  It was Bebo.  I was terrified.

Normally, I handle interviews with a little more flair than that.  But this was Bebo Norman—someone whose music has been vastly important in my life.  Knowing that Bebo also suffers from anxiety disorder, I knew I could confide in him.  The result was a beautiful, encouraging conversation.  No longer were we journalist and musician, but two people talking about our experiences living with the horrors of anxiety.  That interview not only produced a wonderful article (read “Bebo Norman: From the Ruins”), but has helped me tremendously in my own walk as a woman living with mental illness.

The next time I interviewed Bebo I told him what that first interview meant to me.  We talked about his latest album (which happens to be his latest album, OceanYou can read that interview, too.) and again, Bebo encouraged me.  He was present in the interview (some artists zone out, go off on tangents, or give pat answers) and it felt like a real conversation.  I appreciate that about Bebo.

We’re not friends—Bebo and me.  Sometimes I say things to him or about him on Twitter, and every once in a while he responds.  I doubt he would know me or my name without a bit of coaching, not because he’s a jerk; it’s just the nature of being a well-known musician who is interviewed by a lot of people.  However, when I do jog his memory, he knows exactly who I am.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if Bebo Norman knows my name or remembers my story.  What matters is that his music leads me to God, when I can’t find my way in the darkness of life.  It matters that during our interactions, he is been kind, gracious, and humble (I think he’s an introvert by nature).  It matters that Bebo Norman has shown himself to be a man of God, through his actions and through his music.  It matters that Bebo’s songs are personal, transparent, and lovely.

Most of all, it matters that when I am struggling with the ache of life, when it seems more than I am able, I can listen to Bebo Norman’s music over and over again.  And somehow in the mix of words and melody, I find God and I find peace.

Is there a musician or band that helps you find God when you feel alone?  Have you had the chance to meet or personally thank the artist?  What did you say? (Or what would you say if you had the chance?)

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