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  The House Show
Artist: Derek Webb 
Label: INO Records
Length: 14/65:47

Derek Webb (formerly Caedmon’s Call) has joined in what seems to be a new trend on the edges of the Christian music world.  Instead of overspending on lavish production and booking arenas, and then hoping for large rewards, he has joined the ranks of Bill Mallonee and Lost Dogs by playing house concerts.  The House Show is a recording of one these intimate dates recorded in Mobile, Alabama on his “She Can and Must Go Free” tour.

He made the right choice ­ this material is best suited for Webb to play and sing with an acoustic guitar, without studio effects.  Oddly, at times he sounds like Billy Joel channeling Bob Dylan, but his vocals resonate with the force of the message contained in these songs.  If you have the album _She Can and Must Go Free_, you have heard the conviction and force of such songs as “Nobody Loves Me,” a tale of a prophet preaching in his own home town, bringing an unpopular message.  “Wedding Dress” is a revelation, perhaps reminding its listener of the Hosea story.  “She Can and Must Go Free” is a polemic about the state of the church, and where its direction
should be.

Webb’s between song patter is broken into separate tracks, which is helpful to those who just want the music.  I would caution the listener not to skip it, though, at least the first time.  Much in the style Rich Mullins, it is alternately challenging and amusing.  The House Show delivers in such a way that one is glad Webb chose this route, while realizing the talent and message here could not be contained in any arena.

Brian A. Smith
12 July 2004



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