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there are two great lies that i've heard:

"the day you eat of the fruit of that tree you will not surely die"
and that jesus christ was a white middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like him

- derek webb, "a king and a kingdom" from mockingbird

so this weekend i was privileged enough to meet and hang out with the inimitable tb, and later in the evening we were privileged enough to hear and enjoy the unflappable dw. both of these individuals are adorable enough to make me want to put them in my pocket and take them home, but they are both so much larger than life that it's clearly impossible.

it was a cozy, enjoyable, and slightly odd concert. after the opening act, derek's wife sandra performed a few of her songs with him accompanying; then the roles were reversed and it was derek's turn. opening with "nobody loves me", he then took "requests" from the crowd, even going so far as to feign writing the cacophony of demands in a little spiral notebook. he played four or five more songs from his old solo albums and caedmon's days, interspersed with typical charming banter throughout. then he announced that this concert was going to be a little different; after a five minute break, he and sandra were going to be playing straight through his newest album, mockingbird.

i mean, who DOES things like this?

he wasn't kidding. they played it through, top to bottom, for the remainder of the concert. no witty jokes or stories or explanations between songs, just straight up music. i'll admit... i was a little perturbed. i wanted to hear him speak! to hear his stories! his philosophy! his theology! hell, i could just go out to my car and listen to the cd. regardless, it was interesting to hear the songs stripped down to acoustic guitars, keys, and vocals. and i always love watching the passion with which songwriters perform their art.

on my drive home from columbus the next morning, i reflected on the concert and processed my thoughts on it. i'd purchased mockingbird when it was released in december, and i'm sad to say i had not really been a fan of the album as a whole. now i think i realize that the problem was that i wasn't actually looking at the album as a whole. derek's first solo album, she must and shall go free, was quite obviously a theme album, that theme being the Church. his second, i see things upside down, was in my opinion a little less theme based... or, in my mind, it was more of a "normal" cd. so i came into mockingbird intending to listen to it as a "normal" cd: some songs thrown on a record because they all happened to be written around the same time. as it turns out, i completely missed the point.

this cd is challenging. people have gotten up en masse and walked right out during the performance of "a king and a kingdom" [see relevant article here]. derek speaks up about war, politics, idolatry, nationalism, poverty, social justice... he touches on just about everything you don't hear talked about in most christian circles [at least, not in this way]. to say this record is thought provoking would be an understatement.

standing up and playing straight through an album that goes so boldly against the grain takes a lot of guts. and it shows just how deeply derek believes in the songs he is writing, and what a concentrated effort he put into this album. so even though i missed out on the thoughts and stories that might otherwise have been shared, i realized on the drive home that i have gained a far better appreciation of derek webb's latest musical efforts. needless to say, mockingbird has been in heavy rotation around these parts.

although... i still really want to tuck him away in my pocket.

[click here for the full transcript of relevant magazine's interview with derek.] 

Posted on Monday, May 1, 2006 at 12:24PM by Registered Commentermdog | Comments5 Comments

Reader Comments (5)

As someone who had never seen Derek or his wife perform live, my impression was that they were both very sincere, very passionate about their music and very good performers. Several of the songs really spoke to me and I can see why, playing in a church setting that changes from venue to venue, some congregations might be offended by his stance on social issues.
I'm so glad I got to experience it with someone like you who clearly appreciates the sentiment of the lyrics and can add additional insight.
It was great to meet you in person too, and I would gladly climb into your pocket, but it seems a little linty in there.
May 1, 2006 at 03:17PM | Unregistered CommenterTB
hey, m, thanks for the link tothe relevant interview. :)
May 1, 2006 at 03:30PM | Unregistered Commenterdayna
tb - uh oh. were you checking through my pockets while i was asleep?

d - no problem :)
May 1, 2006 at 03:49PM | Registered Commentermdog

I am officially jealous. I've given up hope that the white t-shirted one will ever come and play Chicago. I really, really appreciate DW. Everything that he does is so excellent and right-on. In fact, each of his CDs has a particular song that always hits me right between the eyes...every single time I hear it (and they're not even necessarily my favorite songs of their respective albums).

And I *heart* Sandra too. [small voice] As much I love Derek, she's the more talented of the pair. [/small voice]
May 1, 2006 at 04:28PM | Unregistered Commentermeegs
What a great post, Doogs. I have been listening to Mockingbird a lot lately, as well. Great CD. Lots of things to get you thinking. And Meegs, I'm with you on the Sandra comment. I think her voice is so pure and beautiful. I just love to hear anything with her voice attached to it. She and Andrew Osenga and Jeremy Casella have a trio that they sang for the "Message" CD that released a few months ago. What an amazing song. They just all three stood around a mic and sang. And it's so beautiful.
May 2, 2006 at 12:05PM | Unregistered CommenterMOB

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