Winter Jam has become the largest annual Christian concert tour. This year however, the multi-Christian artist tour produced by Premier Productions and presented by Holt International became the No. 1 tour in the world during the first quarter. The industry trade journal Pollstar announced that more than 500,000 people attended Winter Jam 2011, surpassing all other tours around the globe, including Bon Jovi, U, and Lady Gaga.
On the heels of Winter Jam
Winter Jam was founded in 1995 by the guys in NewSong, a Contemporary Christian rock band formed 30 years ago. Their career achievements include 20 No. 1 songs and a No. 1 mainstream AC hit, "The Christmas Shoes." NewSong has just released their 17th album of new pop music, One True God, produced by 2011 GMA Producer of the Year Ian Eskelin, Grammy-nominated Christopher Stevens, and David Garcia.
"Being in front of audiences night after night continues to reaffirm to us that this world is in need of Jesus Christ, the one true God," said NewSong founding member Eddie Carswell.
Christian crunk band on Vans Warped Tour
Family Force 5, the Atlanta crunk rock band signed with Tooth and Nail Records, is on the road with the Vans Warped Tour. The daylong music and extreme sports festivals, sponsored by the skateboard shoe company, features edgy rock, punk and hip-hop acts.
The five-member Christian band includes three brothers. Their stage act takes the term "high energy" to a new choreographed extreme. It is noteworthy that a band like Family Force 5, past participants in MercyMe's Rock & Worship Roadshow, are included among Vans concert artists.
More info at www.vanswarpedtour.com/bands
Skype facilitates songwriting collaboration
Canadian worship leader and songwriter Matt Brouwer is working on his fourth album. He recently noted on his homepage how technology is transforming his creative collaboration process with Jill Paquette, JJ and Dave Heller, and Jeff Somers via Skype, Microsoft's voice and video internet software.
"… It is truly amazing how technology has changed the dynamics of how we connect and work these days. It's really been a blast to be creative with these amazing people who would otherwise probably never have schedule openings for us to travel to the same location to sit down and write a song together."
Rebecca St. James weds
Australian pop/rock singer, songwriter, and author Rebecca St. James married Los Angeles musician Jacob Fink on a gloriously sunny day in April.
Every couple adds their own personal touches to a wedding ceremony, but this wedding had an unusual matrimonial demonstration of service and humility: the bride and groom washed each other's feet just prior to the service. Although foot washing was a common practice of hospitality in the ancient world, the Gospel of John describes how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper.
The new Mrs. Fink has no upcoming tours booked for her immediate future, presumably to give the couple time to adjust to married life. Her ninth album, I Will Praise You reached the top 10 on Billboard's Christian album chart within the first five weeks of its spring release.
House of Heroes at Sonshine Family and Friends Festival
More than 120 bands will converge at the Sonshine Family and Friends Festival in Willmar, Minn. July 13 to 16. One of those bands will be the Ohio-based alternative rock band House of Heroes.
Last August the band released Suburba, an album filled with the vocal harmonies and big riffs that have become a House of Heroes trademark literary technique. These are not songs with stream of conscious or journal writing, but crafted stories with plots, main characters, and themes of personal choices, peer influences and dream chasers.
Guitarist and lead singer Tim Skipper talks like a novelist.
"You can draw from personal experience, but embellish it… You can say, 'yeah, this happened, but let's sensationalize it a little bit… to drive the point home a little bit more. Or, the other thing is we all love reading non-fiction, but often times non-fiction is stranger than fiction!"
The literary themes are the work of this five-member band of readers.
"We're all readers, we're all history buffs, science fiction buffs… the story is huge for us."