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Derek Webb Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Derek Webb lyrics)
Derek Webb Biography
Derek Webb doesn't have anything to say about the songs on his new album.
This will come as a surprise to those familiar with this founding member of Caedmon's Call who is rarely at a loss for words. A solo artist since early 2003, Webb has strong opinions founded on steely convictions and he shares them freely. Attend one of his past live shows and you've likely heard as much teaching as singing. And we're not talking about devotional fluff meant to make fans feel warm and fuzzy as they head for the door. He has a library that would rival many theologians and he puts it to good use, researching and wrestling over issues, then passing on what he's learned with the fervor of a modern-day Martin Luther.
His solo debut on INO Records, She Must and Shall Go Free, caught some people off guard with its frank language and candid assessment of where we, as the Church, have gone off track. It was more than just a record; it was a thesis. Those who took the time to really listen also found a thoughtful, fluid collection of songs that were more personal confession than pointing finger.
So it may seem odd that Webb is clamming up when it comes to his new disc, I See Things Upside Down, due in stores November 9. It's not that he's not proud of the project. On the contrary, this time around the songs are so complete that Webb, for once, finds himself with nothing left to say.
"I think a lot of the songs I've written over the years needed explanation. That's why I got in the habit of talking so much," Webb explains. "But this group of songs communicates just what I intended, and when I've tried explaining them, it's taken away from them."
It's no wonder this album speaks for itself so naturally. The songs were snatched directly from Webb's own life. Whether it's a misunderstanding with his wife ("Reputation"), a look at modern Christianity ("T-Shirts") or a personal confession ("I Repent"), Webb is not afraid to lay himself bare in a lyric, to hold up his own life for inspection through personal vignettes offered to us for artistic interpretation.
With I See Things Upside Down, Webb says he was really just trying to make good art for art's sake, a topic he's happy to talk about. "I believe that it's by way of the arts that the church gets in on the major worldview discussions that are happening in our world. As Christian artists we must make art that is relevant in the way that it respectfully engages culture by way of its great beauty, and therefore like creation itself, is both beautiful and functional."
As a result, Webb was as concerned with the quality of the art he was making as he was with the worldview behind it. To combat that sterile studio feel, more than half of the record was made at home. It allowed Webb to wait until the mood was right-often in the middle of the night-to lay down his vocals. There also wasn't a producer hovering around on this project. Instead, Webb chose players he trusted and told them, "When you're happy with your performance, then I'm happy with it." As a result, the credits simply read: "This record was made by Derek Webb, Cason Cooley, Matt Pierson, Will Sayles, Justin Loucks, Paul Moak, and Kenny Meeks"
While Webb realizes not everyone sees things from his perspective, he doesn't tire of fighting the good fight. "I think I'm in a peculiar time in history and I have particular opportunities to go and bring these issues up," he says. "This is exactly where I'm supposed to be."