Album Review – The House Show

A man and his guitar.

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On the surface, that is all you are going to get with Derek Webb’s album The House Show. There is no production, no percussion, no backing vocals.

Dig deeper and you will find an outstanding album featuring one of Christian music’s most honest and outspoken voices. The album seamlessly weaves segments of speaking with singing – sharing in music with spoken teaching.

Webb decided that in support of his acclaimed album She Must And Shall Go Free, he would avoid playing in large venues and would focus instead on small gatherings of fifty or so people in someone’s living room. This setting allowed him to share what God has been teaching him about himself, about God and about the church. What’s more, Webb was able to capture the feel of those gatherings on this album. Listening to The House Show it is easy to imagine oneself sitting cross-legged on a living room floor, listening to Webb share what God has laid on his heart.

What sets this album apart from other live albums is the dialogue between songs. We have all heard live albums where the band spends a few moments in thanking the crowd for their support or even in giving a small altar-call, but what Webb does is unique. He shares the inspiration behind his songs, often speaking for minutes at a time in what can really be considered small sermons. Especially outstanding is his stand against “going it alone” as Christians. He teaches that there is no other context for Christianity than the church, the church that Christ so loved that He gave Himself for her.

The bulk of the songs on this album are from She Must And Shall Go Free. He also covers a Bob Dylan song and sings two songs from his Caedmon’s Call days, once which he wrote and one which was written by band mate Aaron Tate. The only new song is entitled I Repent and that song alone is well worth the price of this album. It is as gut-honest a song as you will find, especially in light of the introduction he provides for it.

Derek Webb is clearly one of the great Christian artists of our day. He pours into each album his passion for God, for the Reformed faith and for the church. This passion is infectious and the listener must soon learn that when Webb speaks, it is always worth our while to listen. I simply can’t recommend this album enough.