I’ve followed Derek Webb since his 2003 single, Wedding Dress. He helped me to ask questions I never would have about the Gospel, the Church, and the Christian sub-culture. He showed me that writing music for the church doesn’t need to be in the form of “worship”. He is a prophetic voice that ruffles feathers (including his own) at times.
A few weeks ago I went to Studio 2424 to see him in acoustic concert which Liberti Church East hosted. You can download (right-click, save-as) the bootleg of this show HERE. Below is the set list from that night, along with some video from his latest album and quotes/lyrics from the concert. A few of us were able to hang out with him afterwards and do a Q&A where we got to probe his mind for 40 minutes. I’ve included that full session at the end (along with some markers of what question were asked).
Be sure to check out a sample of Derek’s music for free over at NoiseTrade and also the video Self-Sabotage that was composed for Derek’s instrumental worship album based off of The Lord’s Prayer called Feedback.
* * * * *
1. I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, I Love You
2. Eye of the Hurricane
3. New Law
4. Nothing (Without You)
Prophetic Music – You have a clear moment and you write something down, you take a snapshot of a moment in your life and you pretty much think you know what it’s about especially the more specific you get. Then you wonder to yourself: “In 10 years will I still be able to come back and sing this song, remembering what I wrote it about and the feeling behind it?” It has amazed me over the years the way that I am mostly completely unaware of what’s really going on in all these songs until years later. There are songs that I’m running into that have an immense prophetic value in my personal life. It’s crazy to watch this stuff chase you around, but I’m grateful for it.
Stalker Jesus – This is a song about the fact that sometimes when you journey a long way, even in moments where you feel the wish to come back, the main deterrent to be able to do so, is just imagining how far you’re going to have to journey to return. You feel like there is so much work to do and so far to go. The trick about following Jesus around is no matter how far you feel like you’ve ventured and pulled yourself away, you never have to journey all the way back. What you do is turn yourself around and there He is and that’s where you start. There’s not a journey back. Jesus is following you around. That might make you paranoid, but he’s following you around. You think Twitter creeps you out? He’s following you. He’s really following you, man.
6. Closer Than You Think
Hip Hop is Folk Music – Folk music isn’t a style or genre, it’s an ethic, a way to make music, a way to approach, a way to look at the world and tell people what you see, when I talk about Folk music, I think about the unfiltered stories of people; truth, really deep prophetic truth which is what I find in a certain concentration of music from the 50’s and 60s. As I follow the thread of that folk music ethic throughout the years it comes to hip hop. Not all hip hop music does that, but that’s where the concentration is today; these are the folk musicians of our generation. I advise you to listen up if you want to know what’s really going on. You might not like the language, but it’s in the vernacular of the places where the stories are happening just like in the 50s and the 60s, it would be dishonest for it not to be. So it’s hard to recommend it to everybody, but I do suggest it do. I love that kind of music, I love that ethic, I love protest music if we are protesting the right things, and there are right things to protest.
7. Everything Will Change
8. Eye for an Eye
9. I Want a Broken Heart
Derek encourages support towards the work of Blood Water Mission
10. Nobody Loves Me
11. Ten Thousand Angels
How long you have trembled, in darkness weeping / No rest in language, no words to speak / But there in the wreckage, beneath bricks and blindness / Love has come, love has come for you // Against the night sky of your waiting / Your face is like starlight when he walks in / Everything worth keeping it comes through dying / And love has come, love has come for you // So lift up your heart now to this unfolding / All that has been broken, it will be restored / And here runs deep waters for all who are thirsty / ‘Cause love has come, love has come for you // Ten thousand angels will light your pathway / Until the day breaks fully in the east / And they will surround you and make your way straight / ‘Cause love has come, love has come for you / Oh love has come, love has come for you
Christian Marketing – The word Christian, when applied to anything other than a human being, is a marketing term. That’s all that it is. And it’s not that marketing terms aren’t helpful, it’s super helpful, they help direct us in culture what to consumer… but’s it’s not more than that, and it cannot be more than that. There is no inherent safety, there is no inherit value, there is no inherit truth/goodness/beauty, in things that are arbitrarily stamped as Christian. It just doesn’t mean anything. … Please don’t put your faith in a marketing term, walking into a store claiming to have nothing but Christian goods. The idea that you can just come in and spend without discernment, come in and consume at will; send your children in and grab anything you’d like cause it’s all Christian stuff, so it’s safe, it’s right it’s true… but it’s not. Just cause someone stamped it with a big rubber marketing stamp (probably not a Christian who did that). It does not make it good for you, doesn’t make it right true good beautiful, and doesn’t make everything else that doesn’t have the big marketing stamp none of those things. … So let’s take out faith off of marketing terms, and start using our powers to discern. Shall we do that?
14. Love Is Not Against The Law
politics or love / can make you blind or make you see / make you a slave or make you free / but only one does it all // and it’s giving up your life / for the ones you hate the most / it’s giving them your gown / when they’ve taken your clothes // it’s learning to admit / when you’ve had a hand in setting them up / in knocking them down // are we defending life / when we just pick and choose / lives acceptable to lose / and which ones to defend // ‘cause you cannot choose your friends / but you choose your enemies / and what if they were one / one and the same / could you find a way / to love them both the same / to give them your name // Love is not against the law…
* * * * *
In The Green Room After The Concert [Download]
00:45 – How do you know the right thing to protest?
(short answer: he doesn’t; community is important; he doesn’t want others to think like him, but think about the questions he raises)
6:30 – Derek mentioned earlier in the show that the Church needs to practice getting in over their head more. What are some other “spiritual” disciplines the church needs to exercise more?
(short answer: recklessly loving others; being aware of your language and cultural definitions; letting go of systematic theology; talking about Jesus more than theological terms)
23:45 – Do your own children like your music? What music does your family listen to?
27:45 – Has your music writing process changed?
28:50 – What do you use for instrument programming?
29:47 – How do you feel when people ask you to play old music (like from Caedmon’s?)
31:15 – What ever happened to Democracy (cover song project)?
32:10 – What influences the restraint you show in what you speak up about?
37:20 – What coffee (and restaurant) places do you recommend in Nashville?