Sandra McCracken ’95

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 8.37.37 AMSandra returned to Westminster to perform a concert on October 14, 2011. Over 350 students, parents, alumni and community members were in attendance. During her high school years, Sandra, along with classmates Tommy Halloran and Jesse Heirendt, wanted to add music to Westminster’s Chapel program, so with the support of several faculty members, they took it upon themselves to do just that.

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Sandra recalls that choir director Kathy Eichelberger was especially supportive. The addition of worship and praise songs “really transformed the whole experience of Chapel,” Sandra said.  She graduated from Belmont University in 1999 and released her first album, The Crucible, a year later.

Eleven years ago, Derek Webb was on a coffee run for his bandmates and heard Sandra playing from the stage of the small Nashville coffee shop. Webb picked up her record and played it for the band, who then invited McCracken to join them on the road. She and Webb quickly discovered that they were kindred spirits and were soon planning a future together—a future that now includes two small children, a recording studio in their backyard, and the non-stop adventure of touring as a family.

The couple has released 18 projects individually (10 for Webb, 8 for McCracken) and one EP as a duo, Ampersand in 2008.  Reflecting upon their 10 years of marriage, McCracken and Webb are now taking an even more intimate look at the honest work of co-parenting, co-writing, co-recording, and co-performing, documenting their partnership on their latest collaborative album, TN EP.

Continuing their evolution as a duo from Ampersand, Webb and McCracken (who played all the instruments on the album) have seamlessly blended their artistic instincts to create an unflinchingly honest record that is markedly different from their solo work and unique to this collaboration.

“Homespun recording has come a long way,” McCracken says. “The fact that Derek and I have been able to make records in our backyard has created a space of total creative freedom.  Derek is uninhibited as a producer and engineer.  There are no filters between the spark of our initial ideas and the final recordings.”

TN EP includes five new, original McCracken/Webb compositions as well as two surprising cover songs, Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound Of Silence and Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time.

Derek and Sandra are currently booking fall 2011 shows in support of TN EP with an emphasis on ‘living room’ style shows and small listening rooms.  If you have a suitable space or home (a large living room, campus house, photography studio, or other common space) and could host at least 50-75 people for one of these concerts, visit Sandra’s website.