They sing of being laid on the spinning wheel, of being shaped into "something real" by the hands of The Potter:  "Lord if I'm the clay then let your living water flow/Soften up my edges Lord/So everyone will know."  After 10 years and five albums, the members of Caedmon's Call are still being molded by their Creator - personally and professionally.

 

Much of the shaping takes place in the recording studio, where seven individuals learn to collaborate, compromise and even argue well together. "It gets kind of difficult with so many people and so many ideas that everybody's passionate about," says percussionist Garett Buell. "So passion reigns, but that's what brings Caedmon's into its element. Good music comes out of that process."

 

Musically, Caedmon's Call has covered a lot of ground since its formation, from the acoustic-pop energy of 40 Acres to the quirky, experimental sounds on Long Line of Leavers. In 2001, the group came full circle with the release of the special-event worship album, In The Company of Angels - A Call To Worship, Caedmon's first self-produced project since its independent debut.

 

Back Home, their fifth and latest studio project, "is a really good representation of where the band is today, as well as a good representation of where we've come from musically and artistically," says drummer Todd Bragg. "One of the things that we wanted to do with this album is get back to our roots musically and creatively.  We've had a long road over the last 10 years and honestly didn't expect to be doing this for so long."

 

According to Bragg, in the early days, "we were all kind of in the studio just throwing around ideas. That's what made our earlier independent albums what they are, and that's what we wanted to try to capture with Back Home, so we produced this album ourselves."

 

While self produced, Back Home is built on songs written by "extended family." For years the band utilized two primary songwriters, vocalist/guitarist Derek Webb and Aaron Tate. More recently, the band's writers pool has expanded to include Joshua Moore, Aaron Senseman and Webb's wife, independent artist Sandra McCracken. On Back Home, they also added the poetic lyricism of both singer/songwriters Andrew Peterson and Randall Goodgame.

 

"Walk With Me," a song written by McCracken, is one of Bragg's favorites. "It focuses on how life is about relationships. I'm learning that more and more as I grow older. Also, our relationship with the Word is an amazing thing. Sandra uses Psalm 23 to puts things into perspective. Life has ups and downs, but not only is God there with us, he's guiding us through it, whether we realize it or feel like it or even believe it sometimes. I think that that's what kind of hits me with that song."

 

A Circle of Friends

 

Maintaining a strong sense of community remains a top priority for the members of Caedmon's Call. "We're a family," says Buell. "We're a community and the family extends on to our friends that we hang out with, not just band members or people that directly work for the band. It's funny because a lot of those friends are people we've toured with in the past and that we're fans of. Now a lot of them have written for this record."