In the lyrical countdown that begins his latest album, I Was Wrong, I'm Sorry & I Love You (Fair Trade), Derek Webb gives a running tally of the steps he's taken—largely away from the loving embrace of the Christian music industry—since he traded his membership in acoustic pop band Caedmon's Call for a solo career:
It's been 20 years since I rose and cleared my throat.
It's been 10 years since I stood outside the church.
Webb's journey has been increasingly unconventional, musically speaking, since his early days crafting pleasant college folk tunes with Caedmon's Call, now entering its 20th year. On his solo debut, She Must and Shall Go Free (2003), Webb wielded his acoustic guitar. But he quickly began to experiment, branching out from the bluegrass, folk, and country roots beneath him.
The next, I See Things Upside Down (2004), was Webb's art-rock record, content to meander, linger, and explore as Webb grabbed an electric guitar for the first time. Mockingbird (2005) knocked on several musical doors that Webb would charge through on later albums. The Ringing Bell (2007), a tribute to 1960s protest music, followed suit.
From there, the journey became either increasingly interesting or increasingly difficult to follow, depending on the listener. StockholmSyndrome (2009) traded guitars for a laptop, and Feedback (2010) was entirely instrumental. Those two recordings took Webb farthest from his core audience—Christians who spend time on the fringes of Christian music. But 2012's Ctrl began to bring him back. Now, I Was Wrong, which officially released September 3, completes the circle.
The Long Way Home
Like the music, Webb's lyrics have taken ...