I was a relative latecomer to Derek Webb, since, as I mentioned, I wasn’t a big Caedmon’s listener. I think I first started paying attention to him when “What Matters More” (i.e. Derek Webb says the s-word in a song! And is maybe pro-gay people!) garnered all that controversy. I listened to the song and loved how it sounded (and what it said). So Stockholm Syndrome was the first of his albums that I heard, then I went back and checked out the beautiful stuff from The Ringing Bell, etc. I’m actually downloading a free acoustic version of his latest, Ctrl, on Noisetrade right now as I type. (http://noisetrade.com/derekwebb)
In short, I wish Derek Webb was known beyond the CCM refugee circles! He is SO worthy of more listeners.
Excellent article, Chris. Like you, I grew up on a CCM diet. My faith has remained constant, but (thankfully) my taste in music has diversified. I won’t repeat the many thoughtful ideas you’ve presented here, and instead just offer my (sadly short) list of CCM refugees I still turn to:
-Jars of Clay (have you heard frontman Dan Haseltine’s side project, The Hawk in Paris? They’re the ones behind that “Boys and the girls and the freaks in the middle” song)
-DEREK WEBB (I was never a big Caedmon’s Call fan, but Derek solo has become quite the agitator in the Christian establishment, and he also reminds me of Sufjan somewhat in his folk songwriting/electronic experimentalism. Check out his 2009 album Stockholm Syndrome)
-Jon Foreman (I’ve grown out of Switchfoot’s style somewhat, but their frontman does some really nice acoustic solo stuff. He put out a seasons-themed four-EP collection a few years ago that I highly recommend)
-Pedro the Lion/David Bazan (listening to his stuff too long makes me want to slit my wrists a little bit, and I think Bazan has departed the faith entirely, but listening to him work through it in his songs is fascinating)
And have you heard of the Bored Again Christian podcast? Unfortunately Pete, the guy behind it, updates infrequently nowadays, but it was a good source of indie and SUPERindie (read: Christian underground) music.