by Bea Willis
Nichole Nordeman is a singer, songwriter and pianist that is known for faith-based songs that tell a story. Nordeman returns after a lengthy hiatus with Every Mile Mattered (her first long-play in twelve years). Her writing is a strong as ever, the eleven track album spans across a soundtrack of inspirational songs with Nordeman’s angelic vocals. There are highlights all throughout this album and one can certainly hear the qualities of her past selections that have left their mark on the CCM industry, songs like: “To Know You,” “River God,” “Small Enough,” “What If,” “Every Season,” “Holy,” “I Am,” and “Brave.”
Starting with the title track, “Every Mile Mattered,” Nordeman’s lyrics are full of hope and faith, building upon the bedrock of Christian music. The piano and keyboard start the tune, with Nordeman’s distinctive vocal entering, along with her trademark modern percussion. Her voice is clear and the background vocal harmonization is beautiful. Each verse and chorus builds with new layers of backing vocals and counterpoint vocal lines. The instrumentation builds as well, and the result is a song that travels and flows with the message Nordeman is pouring forth.
“Dear Me” is an in-depth song that chronicles coming of age in one’s faith. This song is perhaps the highlight of the album, but really each track is so strong that it’s not really a fair assessment. Her delivery is emotional and should provide inspiration for many. The string sounds add to the passion of the song and Nordeman builds this melody to a climax. The song reminds us that it is simple, just love as Jesus did.
Surprisingly there is a whisper version of U2’s “Beautiful Day.” The approach is a hushed and subdued mood, and is a completely different feel than the stadium rock of the original version. It fits the overall theme of the album quite well and Nordeman does the melody justice. Supported by gorgeous backing vocals, the layers are both supportive and provide the accompaniment for Nordeman’s lead vocal. A wonderful display of Nordeman’s ability to write moving and countrapuntal vocal harmonies, this is a subtle tour de force of her writing and singing skills.
Again, Nordeman is able to put a strong message wrapped in beautiful music that builds on a message of healing and hope. Every Mile Mattered is wonderful collection of tunes, don’t miss this one.
Tracks to sample first: “Every Mile Matters,” “You’re Here,” “Dear Me” and “Beautiful Day.” The song to take a chance on is “Listen to Your Life.”