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Munster native lands gig at House of Blues

If you go

Doors open at 6 p.m. for S. Joel Norman’s Jan. 2 performance at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, Chicago. Tickets are available for purchase either at the door or through LiveNation at; cost is $10.

Updated: February 3, 2014 3:44PM

Like many artists, Munster native S. Joel Norman rarely feels like his music ever says exactly what he wants it to when it’s finished, but his new album, “Traveling Light,” comes awfully close.

Norman, who will be performing his new gospel-infused rock opus at the House of Blues on Thursday night, said concertgoers will be treated to a ’70s-style adaptation of his own spiritual journey, full of soul and singing his guts out. That journey had been a few years in the making; growing up in a conservative Christian home, Norman started to feel a disconnect between his performer side and his religious upbringing.

“I was always the one who, in the middle of my parents’ dinner parties, would find some obnoxious way to upstage them,” he said. “And I’ve carried a lot of guilt and shame over that, and I started to wonder why God wasn’t coming to my rescue for that.”

His pastor at Faith Church of Dyer, his new spiritual home, told him he needed to stop being so hard on himself and let God do the rest. Most important, he had to learn to love himself as he is — hence, “Traveling Light.”

The church’s influence on his music will always be there in some way, Norman can’t deny. But he thinks this album combines the best parts of gospel and his other love, rock ’n’ roll.

“I love rock when it really was rock ’n’ roll — The Band, Van Morrison, Marshall Tucker, that whole vibe,” Norman said. “These days, rock feels like it’s starting to die, but I can’t let it be taken away.”

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