We met them in a college dorm room, played and sang along with their acoustic guitars and folksy harmonies, and nodded our heads to their lyrics, which expressed the kind of faith that went beyond our churchy roots. The band that felt like the kid in the youth group who fought through the malaise of church culture and found an authentic faith has moved out of the dorm and into a house complete with spouses, kids and responsibilities. Maturity, however, hasn’t taken away their flare for creating great music and compelling lyrics. In fact, it’s only enhanced it.
Their new album, Raising Up the Dead (INO), is as musically interesting and lyrically layered as anything they’ve ever embarked upon. Its sound is indie inspired, which makes it at home in the old dorm room, but its content deals with the complexities of family and relationships, which can only be fully explored with time and experience. In the end, what we have is an album that feels like a family dinner table: a little messy, full of various interesting personalities, and encircled by an unmanufactured love.
A sister to Long Line of Leavers, their unconventional 2000 release, Raising Up the Dead reaches beyond the band’s folk roots and explores influences and genres that push the boundaries of a traditional Caedmon’s Call project. Fans will be drawn in immediately by the acoustic driven “Sometimes a Beggar”, which features the vocals of Cliff Young and the harmonies of Derek Webb. The Young that stands out on this particular album, however, is Danielle. Highlighted as the lead vocalist in 6 of the 12 songs, Danielle shines with particular luster on the album’s finale’, “Free”, an epic that crescendo’s beautifully into one of the bands most powerful songs to date.
The writing on this project is also unique. In the past, Caedmon’s Call has used several notable songwriters, such as Aaron Tate, Randall Goodgame and Andrew Osenga. On Raising up The Dead, many of the band’s current members add songwriting credits to their musical resume.
“This is our most collaborative project ever”, says Webb, who also produced the album. “Everyone was involved in the writing process because we wanted to make a record that reflected the idea of community very strongly. It’s a big theme on this project.”
Todd Bragg (drums) enters the songwriting fray on I Need a Builder, while Jeff Miller (bass) joins in on Sometimes a Beggar and Streets of Gold. Danielle demonstrates that her talents aren’t limited to vocals by contributing music and lyrics to more than half the album, including the Michelangelo inspired “David Waits.” Derek Webb continues to add to his impressive writing career with Family and title track, Raising up the Dead, while Cliff Young joins the writing mix with God’s Hometown. Webb's wife, acclaimed singer/songwriter Sandra McCracken also lends her talents to several songs, keeping it all in the family.
Caedmon’s Call has sold over a million units of its 15 records to date but has always been more of a family community than a band. Their folksy vibe, clean harmonies and creative percussion caused a resurgence of acoustic music in the Christian pop scene and earned the band a large and loyal fan following, known as The Guild. Caedmon’s also helped launch or boosted the careers of artists like Bebo Norman, Jill Phillips, Waterdeep, and Andrew Peterson.
Together again for their 16th studio release, Caedmon’s Call has matured into one of the most distinct bands in Christian music. Raising up the Dead highlights the personality of each band member and comes together to form an album that defies cookie-cutter conformity and instead explores the diverse creativity of some of the industry’s most talented musicians, vocalists and songwriters. Caedmon’s Call is all grown up, but their ability to blend the deep themes of faith and life into new and groundbreaking music is as fresh as ever.