My earliest recollection of Derek Webb is that of my first Caedmon's Call concert. The year was 1995. At the time, I was one-half of a budding young acoustic duet from Baton Rouge, LA. We had several Texas friends who raved on and on about this new band making waves out of Houston. One friend in particular ? she was a Caedmon's Call groupie - let us borrow a tape she had of the band: an early version of My Calm/Your Storm. The songs were absolutely refreshing, with lyrical content that was blessedly authentic ? a first for me in my experience with Christian music. I was also instantly drawn to the sound of the dude who sang with apparent gravel in his voice. When I first heard Caedmon's Call sing that echo line ("through the tree-heeees") in "April Showers" I was forever hooked. So when we heard they were playing down the road in New Orleans at Tulane University, we begged our buddy, who happened to know the promoter of that particular show, to let us open for them. He agreed as did the band.
Why tell you all this seemingly pointless history? It is simply to reiterate that Derek Webb was one of my earliest encouragers, and to me, now as it did then, is crucially imperative to the landscape of any hopeful songwriter. Long before Derek Webb attained tattoos, a bald head, and damn near cult status, he was ?and still is - an encourager at heart. He continues to put forth poetic challenges and stimulation to the Church at large as his albums have explored various sonic modes amid his growing and deepening artistry. Derek Webb has a knack for throwing in some oddly quirky, very catchy, strange and alluring alternate chords in the most unexpected places in his songs. They jump out at you seemingly from nowhere when least expected. I still listen for those moments of breakthrough?they keep my ears perked and remain one of the writing tools that's rubbed off on my own songwriting over the long haul.
On the heels of Derek Webb's Mockingbird, publications dubbed Derek Webb a "prophet in our time", to which I would say this: I don't profess to know much about prophets other than that they typically lived off insects, were mocked by Cub Scouts, mocked false-gods in return, and often faced near-death experiences escaping only by the skin of their teeth. Derek Webb, as a musician, will probably never attain prophet status for me (sorry, ye rabid Derek fans); then again, he doesn't have to. He will, instead, always be a friend who was willing to lay aside, if it existed at all, any ego or ambition in order to be an encourager and a nurturing voice ? a character trait which cannot easily be overlooked from the perspective of any young, aspiring songwriter's career, such was my own.
In May of 2009 Derek Webb announced that his upcoming release Stockholm Syndrome was deemed too controversial by his record label. "It seems I've finally found the line beyond which my label can support me, and apparently I've crossed it," Webb wrote. "At this point we're not sure when the record will come out and in what form. The majority of the controversy is surrounding one song, which I consider to be among the most important songs on the record …. Because of various legal/publishing issues we're having to be rather careful with how we do what we're going to do next."
by Eric Peterson
In early September 0f 2009, Derek Webb released his most experimental album and controversial album yet with Stockholm Syndrome. INO Records released a "clean" version of the album to all the normal retail and digital outlets, while the complete album (including the track "What Matters More") is only available through Derek's website.
Listen to Derek Webb Here
|She Must and Shall Go Free||2003||Epic Records|
|I See Things Upside Down||2004||Epic Records|
|The House Show||2004||INO Records|
|The Ringing Bell||2007||INO Records|
|One Zero - acoustic||2007||INO Records|
|The Ampersand EP||2008||Independent|
|Stockholm Syndrome||2009||INO Records|
|Ctrl [+digital booklet]||2012||Independent|