Read my interview with Derek.
Derek Webb grew to prominence in the Christian music world during his decade in Caedmon's Call. Thankfully, when it became time to move on, the split was amiable and Derek went back into the studio with Caedmon's Call to re-record Bus Driver for Chronicles. However, he's been replaced in the band and I See Things Upside Down is his third solo release in a year and a half, so it's safe to say that his departure is permanent. A quarter of a century ago, Keith Green was the prophetic voice of Christian music, indicting the church with songs like Asleep In The Light:
The world is sleeping in the dark / That the church just can't fight, cause it's asleep in the light / How can you be so dead, when you've been so well fed? / Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can't even get out of bed
While other artists like Rich Mullins and Steve Camp have sounded similar calls to righteous living and growth, Derek Webb seems to have taken up Green's mantle for this generation. I admit my bias--I liked Caedmon's Call, and once I had the chance to sit down and visit with Derek at the Gospel Music Association week in Nashville last spring, I really appreciated him as a person. Now with I See Things Upside Down, we get more of Webb's insightful lyrics and passionate vocals in folk-rock flavored songs like T-Shirts:
They'll know us by the T-shirts that we wear / And they'll know us by the way we point and stare / At anyone whose sin looks worse than ours
Ouch. Webb isn't afraid to point directly at himself in songs like I Repent, originally heard on The House Show:
I repent of parading my liberty / I repent of paying for what I get for free / the way I believe that I am living right / by trading sins for others that are easier to hide / I am wrong and of these things I repent / I repent judging by a law that even I can't keep / wearin' righteousness like a disguise to see through / the planks in my own eyes / I repent of trading truth for false unity / I repent of confusing peace and idolatry
I See Things Upside Down is an intimate album, recorded in Webb's house and sharing his heart. Every Christian should listen to this CD, but sad to say, it doesn't tickle the ears of our egocentric subculture, so it's unlikely to become a hit. Do your part to make it heard.
Visit: Derek Webb.