Bethany Dillon

Bethany Dillon

Bethany Dillon

This intelligent, honest and invitingly melodic album by 18 year-old Christian singer/songwriter Bethany Dillon would be impressive if released by an artist twice her age. There’s nothing cutesy or immature about Dillon’s slightly husky vocal tones or well-crafted folk-pop compositions. Songs like the title track, “Top of the World” and, “You Are On Our Side” express her sense of wonder in the presence of the Lord with a refreshing immediacy. Her vision allows for shadow as well as light — “The Kingdom” and “Beggar’s Heart” (the latter inspired by a trip to India) search for God’s majesty amidst suffering. Rounding out her self-portrait are a number of insightful songs about young love, and the aching “Are You Sure” and the uplifting “When You Love Someone” hold appeal beyond the Christian market. Kudos go to producers Ed Cash, John Alagia and Will Hunt for giving Dillon room to shine amidst bright, stripped-down arrangements. On Waking Up, she manages to be emotionally urgent and spiritually insightful without losing her quiet sense of grace — no easy feat for any artist, teenaged or otherwise.

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