Theological Musings

Nov 052003
Authors: Chris Hess

Derek Webb is at his home in Nashville, Tenn., taking a break

from his current fall tour. He has nothing in his pockets, not even

the usual couple of guitar picks.

Derek Webb has things on his mind. He has things that need to be

said- things he couldn’t say as a member of the hit folk-rock group

Caedmon’s Call. He has things to say to the church in America.

Derek Webb’s first musical memory came from when he was a kid.

He was in the back seat of his mother’s car, and Van Halen came on

the radio. He knew right then that he had to buy that Van Halen

album, despite his brother’s warnings of the dangers of the


“I ended up buying every Van Halen album in chronological

order,” Webb said. “My favorite song is ‘Unchained.’ The guitar in

that song sounds like the Heavens are splitting open.”

Today, Derek Webb is one of the more humble musicians you will

meet, although he will argue that he is just painfully self-aware.

His wardrobe consists of several white t-shirts, a few pair of

pants, a couple jackets and a nice pair of boots.

He does not do encores, as he feels most of the time they are


He loves playing songs by his musical hero, Bob Dylan, in


Derek Webb also doesn’t necessarily like being a solo


“I had no ambition to leave Caedmon’s and go out on my own,”

Webb said. “Being alone on stage is awkward, I don’t really like it

that much. The departure just came out of necessity.”

That necessity came after Webb married fellow folk-rocker Sandra

McCracken and found the need to reprioritize his life. This opened

his eyes to a side of the Christian culture in America that he had

not noticed before, the industry. This new perspective resulted in

a whole album’s worth of songs all with one thing in common, the


Derek’s leaving Caedmon’s Call was, as he put it, organic. There

was no Hollywood-style falling out between band members. No “Behind

the Music” drama. The band knew that he was being called to deliver

a message and they told him to go for it.

“This album is the only thing that I could have left that band

for,” Webb said. “I had to do it, I couldn’t say no.”

That album is “She Must and Shall Go Free,” released last March

on iNO records. Webb’s goal is simply that the church will again

hear the Gospel.

“From pews to pulpit to the stores to the radio stations, we in

the American church look like we don’t believe,” Webb said. “Older

Christians think that they don’t need the Gospel, but it is what we

need surely.”

When Webb released the record, he wanted to be able to play the

songs in a context where he could hear what people had to say. He

wanted to hear their stories and answer their questions. His

answer- living rooms.

“I don’t want to be a pop star on stage in a glittery suit,”

Webb said of his solo endeavor. “I just want to be the guy in the

corner with a guitar, starting real, honest dialogue. About half of

the shows since March have been in people’s living rooms, and it’s

worked pretty well.”

Derek Webb is not a showman. He has no interest in being a

celebrity up on stage. He teaches as much as he plays music. He is

simply a member of the Church from Nashville, Tenn., who has a

message that he wants to get across.

“My intention, God’s intention, with this album is to fulfill

church’s need, of which I am a part of. To hear and believe the

Gospel,” Webb said. “Either no one else sees this need or they are

just afraid to dispute the Christian culture. I need this just as

much as the next person.”


An Evening with Derek Webb

Where: Summitview Community Church

When: 8pm, Sunday, Nov. 9

Tix: $10,




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