Music: Derek Webb

I first heard the songwriting of Derek Webb when he was part of Caedmon’s Call. My roommate played their CD quite a bit and it quickly grew on me. Soon after, they came to Messiah College, and being on stage crew, I got to meet Derek and the rest, briefly. It wasn’t that long after Rich Mullins died, and when they finished with Hope to Carry On, stage full with Caedmon, Bebo, and Andrew Peterson. Well, wow.

I always liked Derek’s songwriting with Caedmon. His songs are very heartfelt, thoughtful, and honest. They don’t always have answers. They resonate with my Christian life.

He left Caedmon after Long Line of Leavers to go solo, with his first album being, She Must and Shall Go Free. I remember reading that something from Derek, that said, in essence, that Caedmon’s vision was more to encourage Christians, while Derek was desiring to speak truth to the Church, even if it wasn’t pleasant.

In 2005, he released Mockingbird, to download, for free. Keith Green stirred the pot quite a bit 20+ years ago by offering his albums for free, and that was when they had to be printed. More recently, Derek and others have launched Noisetrade, where musicians can offer their music for free to those who recommend 5 friends, or pay whatever they want.

While much of his earlier songwriting was more personal, albums like Mockingbird are more about society. It’s a different tone, but he says so many things that make me take notice…and applaud:

don’t teach me about politics and government
just tell me who to vote for
don’t teach me about truth and beauty
just label my music
don’t teach me how to live like a free man
just give me a new law
-From “A New Law”

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it’s to a king & a kingdom
there are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him
-From “A King & A Kingdom”

how can i kill the ones i’m supposed to love
my enemies are men like me
i will protest the sword if it’s not wielded well
my enemies are men like me
peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution
-From “My Enemies Are Men Like Me”

His latest album, The Ringing Bell, is available at Noisetrade…and everywhere else.