Enduring Derek Webb’s Mockingbird

Don’t misunderstand my title.

I’ve liked Derek Webb since his Caedmon’s Call days. His songs were the ones that I played again and again, because they got under my skin: Center Aisle, Faith My Eyes (!). The writing just . . . rang. And Mockingbird is the latest installment in what’s sure to be an important legacy.

The album is darn near perfect. The music resounds with Webb’s sparse genius, the songs richly layered with just the right instrumentation. It’s easy to listen to an album this good.

Except that it’s excruciating. From Track 1, the title track, Webb takes himself and us to task for our blindness, our too-often loveless existence. “Mockingbird” points out that truth is public domain, that at our best, we are singing the Lord’s song, imitating His words and music. How I wish that were truer in my own life!

I heard “A New Law” in Nashville a few months ago, Webb and guitar alone. The lyrics almost knocked me out of my chair: “Don’t teach me about politics and government / Just tell me who to vote for…Don’t teach me how to live like a free man / Just give me a new law.”
And as if that’s not enough, he just keeps on going.

“A King A Kingdom”: “There are two great lies that I’ve heard / the day you eat the fruit of that tree you will not surely die / and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class Republican / and if you want to be saved you have to learn to be like him.”

“Rich Young Ruler”: “We’re all living so good / that we moved out of Jesus’ neighborhood.”

“My Enemies Are Men Like Me”: “I will protest the sword if it’s not wielded well.”

“Love Is Not Against the Law”: ‘Nuff said. Well, Webb asks, can we love enemies and friends the same?

It’s worth your time. Best of all, Derek is offering the album in its entirety on freederekwebb.com. You can also click the link on the right. Enjoy.

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