Around fourth grade Lisa Weyerhaeuser started playing guitar and became a Christian. She writes: “Jesus became my best friend and my Savior. I began to write songs about my new faith and sing them. I sang about God, love, family, and relationships-all of the things that were important to me.” Her list of accomplishments includes being a wife and a mother of three, and teaching in the Psychology Department at Trinity International University. Lisa first heard Larry Norman live in concert in November 1982 and got to interview the Christian music legend after the show for her college newspaper. She shares: “That night I met a stranger who became a friend, and I am grateful to this day for the friendship we enjoyed. Larry had the ability to cause people to feel a deep connection to him and to the God he served, and I am one of the many whose life is better because of that knowing.” Lisa’s latest release is CAUGHT IN TIME AND SPACE (2013, Strong Tree Productions, Blue Myrtle Records). It was recorded in Sweden, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and Oklahoma City. The black leather jacket Lisa is wearing on the front cover was given her by Larry Norman during the recording of the album. He had worn it on the cover of his SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SON album and on stage many times. Larry Norman produced several of the tracks on Lisa’s album and makes various guest appearances. His younger brother Charles Normal arranged the album.
‘Closest Friend’ is a breezy pop duet by Lisa and Larry, with Dan Cutrona on the B3 organ. It points to Christ as the answer to life’s problems and emptiness: “Well, I used to feel so alone/Standing in the shadows and on my own/Looking for a different light/Finally Your love broke through the night/When you find the truth you know it’s right.../What can I say to make you realize/How much He really loves you?/What can I say to make you understand?/You should put your life into His hand.” ‘Keeper of the Clock’ is one of seven songs penned solely by Lisa. Randy Wills plays the harpsichord. It includes these words marked by spiritual maturity: “Who are we to question time/When time is not our own?/Incomplete our love shall lie/Til closer we have grown/Although now we may feel sad/Looking ahead we shall be glad/For we know the Keeper of the clock on the wall/Now He’s speaking/Do you hear His call?” It should be noted that the first eight songs are from the years 1988-1991 (obviously when Larry was still with us!).
‘Psalm 42’ is a pleasant pop duet with Norman. It is a song of spiritual longing penned by Lisa and King David: “Just as the deer thirsts for the water brook/My soul thirsts for Thee/Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls/Your waves have swept over me/Oh God, oh God/My soul thirsts for You Lord/My soul thirsts for You/You’re the living God.” ‘Rekindle my Fire’ is a pretty praise and worship song with Lisa and Larry on background vocals. Charles Normal plays guitar, keyboard, and percussion. The song is a cry for revival: “Sometimes my burning fire goes out/And all that’s left is a fading glow/So please Lord, rekindle my fire/Let me shine bright for You/Oh, please renew my desire/Oh, please Lord rekindle my fire/Oh Lord, renew my desire/Rekindle my fire/Well, You know that I wanna be a light for You/But oh how dim my light has grown.”
Charles Normal programmed the strings on ‘This is my Prayer’, which is a song of spiritual surrender: “Father I praise You/I humbly lay my life before You/All that I am I give for You to use/Father, I thank You for giving us Your Son/I want to thank You for Jesus.../Father forgive me for attitudes towards others/My sisters and brothers/Thoughts that only You see/And Father please help me be more like Your Son/I want to be more like Jesus.” ‘We’ve Only Got Forever’ is a middle of the road song musically. It seems written from the perspective of a Christian musician who is on the road a lot and reassuring their stay-at-home spouse: “Well, I may not be seeing you for a while/And I know it won’t always be easy to smile/But we know that love is patient, yes, it’s true/And I know that I love you/And we’ve only got forever, you and I/To know each other better/To laugh and cry/We’ve only got forever to make things right/Together walking in His light.”
Lisa and Randy Adams sing backing vocals, with Lisa on lead as well, on the light rock song ‘Stronger Now’. It speaks of the raw emotions many of us deal with at one time or another on this journey we call life: “There is much heartache, there is pain/There is so much confusion/I think I might go insane/There is a war battling inside of me/It rages on, but somehow/He is stronger now/There is anger in my heart, sorrow in my soul/There’s an aching that just won’t leave/But His love still seems to flow/Oh, don’t you know.” Larry Norman plays harmonica on ‘Get Away’, while Kevin Bailey plays acoustic guitar. This song speaks of the value of spiritual solitude: “When life’s busy schedule is trapping you in/When you can’t seem to find a moment’s rest/When your eyes are losing focus/On the goal you’re running toward/When you’re continually being put to the test.../Just take time to get away/Oh, take time to get away/Even Jesus needed time away/A time to pray, a time to lay/His burden down and get away.”
The next three tracks are Larry Norman classics. The first two presented here were produced by Eddie Prather. Larry and Lisa duet on ‘Sweet Sweet Song of Salvation’, which Larry originally recorded on his debut album, UPON THIS ROCK (1969). The song has a highly contagious chorus full of joy, hope, and life-giving faith. Lisa and Larry again duet on ‘The Great American Novel’, which I know from Norman’s 1972 album ONLY VISITING THIS PLANET. The version presented here is one of my favorite versions of the song ever, with a slow country feel to it. Larry plays acoustic guitar, while Tim Wright plays pedal, steel, and 12 string guitar. Lyrically, the song boldly takes swipes at racism and war among other things: “You killed a black man at midnight/Just for talking to your daughter/And you made his wife your mistress/And you left her without water/And the sheet you wear upon your face/Is the sheet your children sleep on.../You were far across the ocean/The war was not your own/And while you were losing theirs/You also lost the war at home/Did you really think the only way to bring about true peace/Was to sacrifice your young men/To kill all your enemies?” Lisa and Larry’s voices blend well together.
Lisa previously recorded Norman’s 1976 song ‘U.F.O.’, but a version is included on this project as well, as it seemed to fit in with the other songs. Bill Verdier plays violin and Kendall Combes plays bass and electric guitar. Lisa delivers a nice rendition of the easy listening, apocalyptic song, whose subject is Jesus Christ: “He’s an unidentified flying object/You will see Him in the air/He’s an unidentified flying object/You will drop your hands and stare.../He will come back like He promised/With the price already paid/He will gather up His followers/And take them all away.” ‘Politically Correct’ was produced by Max Hsu of Superchick fame and is from circa 1999. Hsu plays keyboards on the upbeat country track, Dave Ghazarian (Superchick, Audio Adrenaline) plays guitar, and Lisa, Larry, and Mike Struck sing backing vocals. The song is lyrically in your face: “Say all the right things but stay to the left/Do not discuss the national debt/Hug a whale but dispose of the innocent child/Convenience is bliss in morality’s eyes/We are politically correct but we’ve got it all wrong (2X)/Start a war at another country’s front door/All the while the White House rolls around on the floor.../The country needs a revolution/In the form of Jesus Christ.”
Lisa is certainly a great woman of faith and a talented singer-songwriter. Her voice is warm and inviting and easy to listen to. I hope this album gets the exposure it deserves! Fans of adult contemporary and light pop music should pick this one up. Needless to say, every serious Larry Norman collector must add this project to their collection as well. The last eight tracks on this CD which almost runs 80 minutes long, are soft acoustic versions of several of her originals, which I have already reviewed here. These eight tracks were recorded by Lisa, along with her friend and Christian guitar hero, Rex Carroll (King James, Whitecross). They will appeal to fans of Evie. I’m rating CAUGHT IN TIME AND SPACE 85%. For more info visit www.lisaweyerhaeuser.com. Lisa says: “I can’t wait to be a part of what God is up to next.”