Derek Webb, a founding member of the acclaimed Christian folk-rock group Caedmon's Call, is slated to release his solo debut, She Must and Shall Go Free, March 25, 2003 on INO Records. The critically-lauded singer/songwriter's new CD is an undertaking girded by years of study, prayer and research that tackles the subject of the Church, using straightforward language to drive home his passionate message.
As a part of the Houston, Texas-based Caedmon's Call, Webb has seen career sales approaching 1 million records, 10 Dove Award nominations, two Dove wins, a Billboard Music Video Award nod, and six #1 radio hits. Content to be one-seventh of that successful group, Webb never harbored dreams of solo stardom.
But when he found himself with a collection of songs all centering around the theme of the Church and our ongoing need for the Gospel, Webb knew that he needed to find a way for those personal songs and the message behind them to be heard.
Some may think taking the Gospel message to believers is like preaching to the choir, but Webb explains, "The Gospel wasn't the thing that saved me 10 years ago. It's what I have to believe to get me through the day if I'm gonna keep my sanity. We tend to think that the Gospel is what we tell people that don't believe, then we move onto bigger, better, deeper spiritual things. But there is nothing bigger, better or deeper. And that's why the record is about the Gospel as it pertains to the Church, which is us."
Webb further explains the album's theme by saying, "If we're gonna love Jesus, we have to love what He loved. Jesus loved and gave Himself for the Church. So if He loved and gave Himself for the Church, why wouldn't I be willing to make a record and go and speak and preach the Gospel to the Church?"
It was Webb's pastor, Scotty Smith, of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tenn., helped plant the seeds for the project. That series, along with other events, caused Webb to take a deeper look at our current relationship with the Church.
Of the music that grew from his sermons, Smith says, "With the passion of a Bride, the substance of distilled wisdom, and the creativity of well-stewarded gifts, Derek Webb has given us much more than a great CD, he has given us the heart of Jesus for His Wife. In a day when too many of us relate to the Church as consumers wandering through the food court in a mall, Derek challenges us to live as a people consumed with the glory and grace of our Bridegroom."
INO Records Founder & President Jeff Moseley, who caught the vision for the project early on, says, "She Must and Shall Go Free is a record to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. It's all about the Church. As believers, we should be steadfast in our love for It, as Jesus is for us. That's the much-needed message Derek portrays so well throughout this album."
The passion Webb feels for that message also factored into spring tour plans. While promotion of the project will likely include some larger shows, touring will revolve around intimate concerts in small churches and even people's homes. It's Webb's hope that this unique approach and limited audience size will allow for more than music, leading to honest discussion of the issues raised on his album.
"I want to talk to every single person who bought the record, if possible." Webb says. "I want to hear what they thought about it, and I want to sit down and talk with them about it, and I want them to walk away understanding."
By Angela Lee