An Old Review of an Album I Still Like: “High Countries” by Caedmon’s Call

This review appeared in Living Light News a few years ago, but the weblink is now lost in cyber dust. Caedmon’s Call are an American acoustic rock band and fellow pilgrim’s in Narnia who draw on authors like Lewis for lyrical depth, storytelling, and theological insight. Although I’m more partial to their live E.P., Intimate Portrait, I think Back Home is their most sophisticated work to that point and best captures the Lewisian elements in their writing–especially in their melodic reflection on The Great Divorce in their single, “The High Countries”–you can see the lyrics here. Some of that intellectual depth comes, I think, through lead singer Derek Webb‘s graduate work in theology and the launching of his solo career. Though I would speak differently of it now, I’ve left the review as it is. Caedmon’s Call and Derek Webb both have new material out in 2011.

Caedmon’s Call, Back Home
Living Light News
Review by Brenton Dickieson

A decade ago, an eclectic group named after a miraculous monk became famously popular touring colleges with their rootsy acoustic sound. Yet, with a million album sales, six #1 hits and a mantle full of accolades, Caedmon’s Call still flies home every Sunday to lead music at their church. Perhaps that theme of pushing creative boundaries yet still staying close to home best captures their aptly titled release, Back Home.

Philosophically mindful and musically excellent, Caedmon’s Call is in the same genre as Matchbox 20, Dave Matthews, Jars of Clay, and Counting Crows.

Back Home is filled with solid tracks of spiritual longing. “The High Countries” is an airy ballad pulling images from C.S. Lewis’ book, The Great Divorce, and retelling a story of brokenness. “Walk With Me,” with its daring, stripped-down acoustic head, brings the world of ancient Hebrew poetry into an urban coffee shop. Back Home also has an intentional world-music feel, similar to the recent experimentation by Sting, displayed particularly in string-laced “The Kingdom.” “Hands of the Potter” lays beneath the classic image of a potter leaning over his clay, a percussion-driven mid-tempo folk-revival tune that is prayer as much as poem.

Long-time listeners of Caedmon’s Call will find Back Home filled with a decade of experience, yet reminiscent of where it all began. Perhaps the oft-repeated adage is true: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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3 Responses to An Old Review of an Album I Still Like: “High Countries” by Caedmon’s Call

  1. Pingback: 3 Pop References to The Great Divorce | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  2. Pingback: Week 3 in the Great Divorce Read-Along: A Handy Chart | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  3. Pingback: Brooke Fraser on C.S. Lewis (Friday Feature) | A Pilgrim in Narnia

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