Cliff Young of Second Baptist heads Caedmon’s Call, a band that weaves a mission into their music.
Caedmon’s Call is a Contemporary Christian band headed by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Cliff Young, son of well-known pastor Dr. Ed Young. His wife Danielle has been at his side for 15 years and is a vocalist. The band fuses traditional folk with cultural music and alternative rock. “Danielle and I went on our first date the night before the first Caedmon’s Call performance back in 1993,” says Young, who is busy coordinating VBS, as well as high school and junior high beach retreats for the church. He helps record music for VBS in the studio.
Original band member Randy Holsapple is a Katyite who now tag-teams as an instrumentalist. “I joined the band pretty much from the very beginning,” says Holsapple, who plays the Hammond organ. “We were on the road eight months out of every year, and I left in 1999 because my kids needed a full-time daddy.” Randy now plays on special occasions and last appeared on the Caedmon’s Call album, Raising Up The Dead.
The full-time band includes Derek Webb (vocals, guitars), Garett Buell (percussion), Jeff Miller (bass guitar), Todd Bragg (drums), and Josh Moore (keyboard, accordion, harmonica). In June, 1994, the band released their first album, My Calm // Your Storm and in 1996 signed with Christian label Warner Alliance, then with Essential Records in 1998.
In 2004, Caedmon’s Call released “Share the Well”, addressing social justice issues through music, such as hunger and the plight of the Dalits in India. “We had just found out about caste discrimination. The Dalits are a group of people who are treated like animals and not really even considered human. Although the caste system is technically illegal, 3000 years of history and the belief in reincarnation has sealed the fate of the Dalits. Many in India view their status as a just and deserved punishment,” says Young, who felt called to visit the country. The band played on the instruments of the Dalits, considered unclean. For three weeks they traveled to villages and composed music with the outcasts of society. Many Dalits can’t read or write, but much of their history is in their music. “Many in the U.S. deny this even goes on, but the evidence is there for all to see,” adds Young.
Young did much more than compose music to raise awareness. He began building schools in India, and one of Second Baptist’s major ministries supports the Dalits. “These schools teach English and the Bible. We see so much hope now, and English would never otherwise be taught to the children of the Dalits,” says Young. “The Gospel itself was written for the downtrodden and the hopeless. Jesus came for the least of these. Those who have been told their whole lives that God hates them and that they never should have been born now hear the message that they are loved through Christ.”
Young sits on the board of the Dalit Freedom Network and is a sponsor. “Dalit children who manage to attend government schools sit on floors while other children sit at desks,” says Young, who travels to India every year to look at the church schools that welcome Dalit children as equals.
As for the band, they joined INO Records in 2006 and explain the name Caedmon’s Call as follows: Founding band members Cliff and Danielle, along with songwriter Aaron Tate, all heard the story of Caedmon during the same week. Caedmon was a 7th century Anglo-Saxon cow-herd who feared singing publicly until an angel appeared in a dream and called him to sing. The name has served the band well for almost 20 years.