Winter Jam: A yearly tradition

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Winter Jam 2014 artists Lecrae (left) and Newsboys (right).

Believe it or not, winter isn’t over just yet.

A wintry mix of hard rock, hip hop and soul music is forecasted for Bossier City Friday night as the Winter Jam 2014 Tour Spectacular takes over the CenturyLink Center. This popular Christian music tour, which also includes inspirational speeches and moments of worship, is an all-in-one show featuring artists from different genres music all on one stage…for one night…for only $10 at the door.

NewSong’s Winter Jam Tour Spectacular has grown to become the No. 1 touring event during the first quarter for the past three years in terms of attendance. Eddie Carswell, Winter Jam creator and NewSong founding member, said the 2014 tour is shaping up to be the “biggest and most innovative Winter Jam yet.”

“Every year Winter Jam is proud to bring fans around the country 10 artists for $10 with one mission in mind – to share the Gospel with as many people as possible,” Carswell said. “We can’t wait for audiences to experience it.”

Fortunately, area residents won’t have to wait much longer. The 2014 tour lineup includes Lecrae, Newsboys, Tenth Avenue North, Thousand Foot Krutch, Plumb, NewSong and Colton Dixon, as well as a message from leading young evangelist Nick Hall. In addition, the iDisciple App Pre-Jam Party will feature Love & The Outcome, Everfound and Derek Minor.

Grammy award winning hip-hop artist Lecrae is adding a fresh beat to the tour. The Christian rapper (yes, rapper) has crossed over into the mainstream and is currently on the road entertaining Christian music fans across the country.

“I try to just be authentically me. I think I represent what this younger generation is craving, as far as authenticity and diversity,” he said. “It’s definitely not the traditional music that people have come to expect, but that’s what this tour is all about. I really do think that my authenticity connects with people in a big way.”

As the first hip-hop act to travel on the Winter Jam tour, Lecrae urged concert goers to listen closely to his words rather than on his method of delivery.

“A lot of adults don’t understand rap and hip-hop, but it’s about breaking down barriers and sharing my story through this type of music,” he said. “Obviously I’m a Christian and I’m not ashamed of that. When I make music, I make it to where it’s something everyone can relate to.

His music not only tests boundaries in the Christian music industry, but it tackles real life issues, including drugs, violence and the struggle to find purpose in life.

Lecrae said it’s about telling the truth, even when the truth hurts.

“I’m ok with telling hard stories whereas a lot of Christians expect musicians to sing about happy times,” he said. “I’ve been an underdog for a better part of my life and I’m used to being scrutinized. A lot of my music is about the discovery of what purpose God had for me and the journey to finding him. I’m very confident in the gift and purpose that God has given me.”

Also on the tour is four-time Grammy-nominated band Newsboys, who boast an impressive track record with 16 albums, five gold certifications, 30 No. 1 radio hits and over 8 million units sold over their multi-decade career.

This rock and pop-driven worship band includes front man Michael Tait (vocals) and his band mates who’ve played together for two decades – Jody Davis (guitar), Jeff Frankenstein (keys) and Duncan Phillips (drums). Tait said the group is happy to be on the tour this year and eager to put on a great show for local Christian music fans.

“I love seeing the crowd looking back at us – singing, worshiping and having a great time,” Tait said. “It’s cool to see the faces of people who have never been to a Winter Jam concert before. It’s explosive.”

He added that the Newsboys set will be “fresh” and “trendy.”

“I’m big on keep things current and keeping up with the times,” Tait added. “Most of our set is brand new and the show itself is over the top. People are going to love it.”

New this year is the official Winter Jam App, which features an interactive venue map, free Winter Jam radio, an interactive mobile light show, access to social media connections, giveaways, Jam Nation membership purchases and a Winter Jam store. This free app is available for both Android and iOS devices and can be downloaded at jamtour.com/app.

The long-running contemporary-Christian music tour focuses on the ministry, sharing the word of God through music and memories. For more information on Winter Jam or to learn about the artists in this year’s lineup, visit www.jamtour.com.