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Caedmons Call is a Contemporary Christian band which fuses traditional folk with world music and alternative rock.
They are composed of Cliff Young (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Danielle Young (vocals; married to Cliff, formerly Danielle Glenn), Derek Webb (vocals, guitars), Andrew Osenga (vocals, guitars), Garett Buell (percussion), Jeff Miller (bass guitar), Todd Bragg (drums), and Josh Moore (keyboard, accordion, harmonica).
Former members of Caedmons Call include Doug Elmore (percussion), Cari Harris (vocals), Randy Holsapple (hammond organ), Aric Nitzberg (bass guitar), Joshua Phillips (pan flute/percussion), and Aaron Tate (songwriting duties).
Webb left the band in 2003 to pursue a solo career, but re-joined in 2007 for the recording of Overdressed.
Caedmons Call was formed in 1993 with six original members (three of whom still remain), Cliff Young (whose father and brother, both named Ed Young are highly successful pastors of megachurches), Danielle Glenn, Todd Bragg, Cari Harris, Joshua Phillips, Doug Elmore, and Aaron Tate.
Tate, however, never intended to tour with the band, and was included in a songwriting capacity only. Derek Webb also joined the band early on, though it is notable that he did not even meet all the band members until after they had played their first show together.
In June, 1994, Caedmons Call released their first album, My Calm // Your Storm, originally a cassette-only demo recording. It was re-printed twice the same year with different cover art each time.
In 1996 the band signed with now-defunct Christian label Warner Alliance, producing their self-titled major label debut. Around this time, Randy Holsapple joined the band. During this time, Kirby Trapolino served as Manager, Micah Ottosen served as Road Manager, and Buddy Ottosen served as Guitar Tech.
After the collapse of Warner Alliance in 1998, Caedmons Call signed to Essential Records, where they remained until May 2006.
In the summer of 1999, both Aric and Randy left the band, while Josh and Jeff became official members. In 2003, after the successful release of Back Home, Derek left the band to pursue a solo career. In the spring of 2004, Andrew Osenga, former lead singer of The Normals joined the band.
Aaron Tate and Derek Webb shared most of the songwriting duties until the album Back Home, which featured songs by a more diverse set of writers. Randall Goodgame has, in the proceeding years, become one of the band's primary songwriters.
In 2004, Caedmons Call released "Share the Well", a missions album that was critically acclaimed but unable to find a radio audience. The album, which includes songs written by Randall Goodgame, Andrew Osenga (guitar) & Josh Moore (keyboard), was inspired by the band's trip to India, Brazil and Ecuador.
In addition to broader Christian themes, Share the Well tackles a variety of social-justice issues, such as hunger and the Dalit's battle for freedom in India.
The band's unusual name was inspired by Caedmon, an Anglo-Saxon cowherd who lived during the 7th century. Legend has it that Caedmon was afraid to sing in public due to a lack of musical talent, and shied away from occasions where he had to sing. After leaving a feast one night because he was too embarrassed to sing, he lay down in the pasture with the cattle to sleep. An angel appeared to him in a dream, calling him to sing.
After refusing, he eventually decided to sing and when he did, he sang beautiful verses that had never been heard before, based on the story of creation and using the style of pre-Christian, Anglo-Saxon poetry.
Many songwriters tried in vain to write songs as good as or better than Caedmon's, but could not because Caedmon's songs came from God. Founding band members Cliff, Danielle, and Aaron decided on the name "Caedmons Call" after all three heard this story during the same week and thought it was fitting.
Over the years, Caedmons Call have enveloped and adapted many different musical stylings, the most obvious being their folk and alternative rock roots.
On their first mainstream, self-titled release(Caedmon's Call), the band utilized stylings that ranged from straight-up folk-rock ("Lead of Love", "Coming Home"), rock ("Not the Land"), folk ("This World", "Bus Driver"), and simple acoustic guitar ballads ("Center Aisle").
Their second album, 40 Acres, made after the dissolution of Warner Alliance, has a more settled folk-rock sound.
Songs such as the Derek Webb-penned "Thankful", for instance, took advantage of those folk-rock stylings, relying heavily on percussion.
Long Line of Leavers, their third wide-release album, became something of a milestone for the band, including a wider range of instrumentation and stylings.
"The Only One" featured a brass accompaniment, something Caedmons Call had never experimented with before, whereas "The Ballad of San Francisco" was debatably the most folkish song ever included on a Caedmons Call album.
"Prove Me Wrong" was a simple guitar-driven pop song, while "What You Want" stands in the tradition of "Not the Land" as upbeat rock-and-roll.
The albums In the Company of Angels: A Call to Worship and Back Home came during an interim phase in which Aaron Tate and Derek Webb were mostly inactive as writers for the band, Aaron only contributing lyrics for the song "Beautiful Mystery" on Back Home and Derek contributing music and lyrics for "Awake My Soul" to that record as well.
A myriad of other songwriters, some solid songwriters and others less so, provided material for the band. These albums, while still largely driven by the acoustic guitar, were characterized by simpler lyrics and melodies than the band's past material, and more of an adult contemporary feel that did not sit well with most older fans.
Many felt the source of the band's relevance to be the hard-hitting, deeply introspective lyrics penned by Tate and Webb, which often included common and obscure Biblical, historical, and popular references cast in new contexts. Caedmon's was often billed or described as "a thinking Christian's band." Lacking these kinds of lyrics, many fans began looking elsewhere.
In 2004, Share the Well proved to be a notable artistic leap for the band. Caedmon's Call decided to incorporate world music influences into the album during mission trips with Compassion International to India, Ecuador, and Brazil.
The Indian influence was most prominent on this album, with several Dalit musicians providing instruments and vocals. In addition to Randall Goodgame, Josh Moore and Andrew Osenga emerged as the new primary songwriters for the band.
In 2006, Caedmons Call released In the Company of Angels II: The World Will Sing. This sequel to the first In the Company of Angels was recorded despite the band's lack of desire to make the album. However, the record label, wanting to cash in on the "worship music" cash cow insisted.
It was the last album that the band made for Essential Records, before parting ways with the label in May 2006. The band is now associated with INO Records, and named their fall 2006 tour "The Emancipation Tour"--possibly in part a reference to their split from their former label.
For most of the band's tenure, lead vocals were split somewhat evenly between Cliff Young and Derek Webb. Cliff would usually sing lead on the Aaron Tate songs (he does not usually write his own songs for the group, though he plays a large part in the arrangements), and Derek would sing lead on the songs that he wrote, which were often more personal in nature.
Danielle typically sings lead on two to four songs per album; "Piece of Glass" is the only song that she has written for Caedmons call (co-written w/ Webb).
Once Derek Webb ceased writing songs for the band in the years leading up to his departure, Cliff emerged as the primary vocalist for the band, a role which he retains today, though Danielle has been able to sing lead more frequently as a result of this.
The band's newest vocalist, Andrew Osenga, has only sung lead four times, on the song "Bombay Rain" and the hidden track "I Miss You", both of which he wrote for Share the Well, and on "The Story" and "We Give Thanks", from In the Company of Angels II.
On May 22, 2007, it was announced in a press release that Caedmon's Call's first INO release, Overdressed, would be released in late August 2007. This same press release announced the return of Derek Webb to the band after a four-year absence. His replacement, Andrew Osenga, remained in the band as well.
In January, 2008 the song Ten Thousand Angels by Caedmons Call was featured in an episode of Grey's Anatomy (Season 4, Episode 11: Lay Your Hands On Me) while several different scenes played.
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