Derek Webb released his new album this week. It’s titled Ctrl and I’m really enjoying it. The album isn’t like any of his other stuff (whether you prefer the country, folk, rock, electronic, or instrumental manifestation of DW).
Ctrl does have electronic elements but also has live drums. The main instrument of the album is a nylon string guitar. Any fan of Willie Nelson knows that doesn’t limit the scope of sound by any means. Nylon strings can sound very pristine when lightly played. If you crank down on them, you can get a real dirty sound out of the guitar. Ctrl has plenty of both.
The most interesting, I’ll even say oddest, aspect of the album is the seemingly random interruptions of what to me sounded like an out of tune, small town, southern Baptist choir full of old people. At first, this comes across almost disconcerting. After a while, the sounds grow to be a beautiful, dissonant addition to the somewhat haunting lyrics and melodies on this album.
Come to find out, these choral interruptions are actually a historical genre of congregational singing from early in America’s history. It’s called shape singing or Sacred Harp music. Find out more about this genre (and watch a trailer of a documentary) here.
Caught your attention?
Buy the album here.
Download 3 tracks from the album for free here.