Have You Seen This?!

tobyMac’s got the intro to the 2013 ACC Basketball Tournament covered!

Let me just say this for the record (again):  tobyMac.  Superbowl.  Half-Time Show.  2014.

Anybody have Roger Goodell’s number?  Or maybe the Ops Manager at MetLife Stadium?

You know, just trying to plan ahead!

Throwback Thursday: Jesus Freak!

I’ve been trying to come up with something fun & new to do on a weekly basis here on Spin: the Blog. I came up with a couple of really bad ideas before I finally came up with one that I sorta like: Throwback Thursday.

Since I’m no longer young but not really old, and I grew up during what I like to think of as the Golden Age of Christian Music, I think I’m uniquely qualified to write a weekly blog to jettison my faithfully devoted readers back to the glory days when DC Talk, the Newsboys (circa Peter Furler), Jars of Clay, and Audio Adrenaline ruled my CD player.

For my inaugural Throwback Thursday post, I’ve carefully selected one of my all-time favorite songs, DC Talk’s Jesus Freak. It was a tough decision, but someone had to make it.

Let me break down a couple of the deciding factors in my final choice:

#1–Michael Tait’s hair in the video–that was one seriously rockin’ braided ponytail! What would you really even call a hairstyle like that? I have no idea. It’s totally awesome, though. I think he should consider revisiting that style for sure!

#2–Is it just me, or does Kevin Max look kind of like Jane Lynch at certain points in the video? Like, at the end in the blue shirt? Am I crazy? No, I don’t think so.

#3–tobyMac without a hat, sporting actual hair. To prove my point, Google ‘tobyMac.’ Click on images. Exactly. The man likes his hats.

So, here it is…my Inaugural Throwback Thursday choice….plus, keep scrolling because I’m also going to post videos from all three founding members of DC Talk’s current projects, just because I can. 🙂

Michael Tait and the Newsboys (circa the Michael Tait era, minus the rad hairdo):

Kevin Max with Audio Adrenaline…still not sure I’m totally sold on audioA without Mark Stuart, but I’m actively working on it. It helps a little that I like this video!

Last but not least, Mr. tobyMac. I’m sort of a big fan…(and that, folks, is the understatement of the century!)

2013 Grammy Winners!

February 10th, 2013 was a big night at the Grammy’s for Christian Music!  Here’s a quick run down of the winners:

Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance–Matt Redman. Such a well-deserved win! I also love Matt Redman’s response to his win on Twitter. He said, “We wrote this song for the glory of God, so He gets all the glory today, too.” Beautiful!

The category for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song of the year was a tough one. So many great songs to choose from in this category! Nominees included 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin, Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Mark Hall and Matthew West, Your Presence is Heaven by Israel Houghton and Michah Massey, When Mercy Found Me by Jeff Pardo and Rhett Walker, and White Flag by Jason Ingram, Matt Maher, Matt Redman, and Chris Tomlin. (Side note: I wonder how Matt Redman must have felt to be competing against himself for this category? That’s awesome!) I have to admit, I was kind of pulling for my home boy Rhett Walker’s When Mercy Found Me, but the award was given jointly to 10,000 Reasons and Your Presence is Heaven. Both are truly great songs, and very well deserved wins for the songwriters. If you aren’t familiar with Your Presence is Heaven (To Me), check out the lyric video below on YouTube:

The winner for Best Gospel Album this year was Gravity by Lecrae. If I’m being very candid, of all the well deserved awards given out last night this one is probably tops. I’m not typically a big fan of rap music, but for a solid couple of months last summer I was completely hooked on Gravity. Couldn’t get enough of it! Lecrae is an amazing man of God, and you can check out his inspiring testimony below:

Another tough category at the Grammy’s was the Best Contemporary Christian Album. Nominated for the award was Eye On It by tobyMac, Come to the Well by the Casting Crowns, Where I Find You by Kari Jobe, Gold by Britt Nicole, and Into the Light by Matthew West. All of the nominees in this category had stellar projects and stellar years last year, but my one of my own favorites, tobyMac, walked away the big winner. Congratulations to Mr. Mac on the win and to the nominees! (As Matthew West said on Twitter, “I’m getting pretty good at saying ‘It’s just an honor to be nominated.’ Ha! Congrats to @therealtobymac on a well-deserved Grammy!”) You can check out tobyMac’s video for Eye On It featuring fellow nominee Britt Nicole below:

‘Steal My Show’ Lyric Video–tobyMac

TobyMac – Steal My Show (Official Lyric Video) from tobymac on GodTube.

Headed out to Winter Jam? Gearing up for the WFRN Friend Fest in June? Well, you might want to learn the words to tobyMac’s latest single off of the ‘Eye On It’ extravaganza…’Steal My Show’! It’s one of my favorites for sure. Check it out above! (And, if you like the song, be sure to check out the story behind the song below!)

Winter Jam Pick #2–Toby Mac’s Eye On It


I’m going to lay down some truth right now:  I have been a fan of tobyMac in one way, shape, or another since I was approximately 12 years old and tobyMac was just starting out rapping with DC Talk.  Fast forward 20 years, and I’m still a fan of tobyMac, although I no longer have DC Talk posters hanging in my personal spaces.  (Well, I do have an autographed ‘Hits Deep Tour’ lanyard hanging from the rearview mirror in my car, but surely that doesn’t count, right?)

My six year old is also a young tobyMac fan in training.  He has been known to sing various tobyMac hits on our family’s pool table with a toy microphone while busting out some pretty fierce dance moves that would no doubt make Mr. Mac himself proud.  This morning, he drew a picture for tobyMac that says on the inside “I love your music TobyMac.”  On the outside, he drew a big picture of a stage with three people on it.  When I asked who the people were, he rolled his eyes at me and said, “Mom, can’t you tell?  It’s DJ Maj, tobyMac, and da Bomb (also known as Brian Haley, tobyMac’s drummer.)”

I will never make that mistake again!

‘Eye On It’ is a crazy good song…we’re talking Family Force 5 cray button crazy good song here.  I love the opening lyrics to the song (and in case you were wondering, yes, my son Alex can rap the entire thing!)

“I set my eyes to the west, walkin’ away  from it all

Reachin’ for what lies  ahead, I got my eye on it

I see my sweat hit the  ground, I put my foot in the block

This is the race of my life and I can’t wait for this shot

‘Cause I can feel the wind at my back

Chest is pumpin’ like a heart attack

Feet are movin’ and my mind is locked

Pressin’ on with everything I got

I got my eye on it

I  got my eye on it

I got my eye  on it”

Sadly for Alex, he is not going to get to go to Winter Jam tonight since it’s a school night.  He also missed out on the Hits Deep tour because it was a school night, too.  He is understandably angry with me for being, and this is a direct quote, “the meanest mom EVER!”

I guess I will just have to enjoy seeing tobyMac perform ‘Eye On It’ enough for both of us 🙂


tobyMac Releases Eye On It Video featuring Britt Nicole


It’s a darn good day for Christian Music today (well, except for the Sidewalk Prophet’s bus, Bubba, breaking down in Alabama I guess).  Jason Castro’s new CD, Only a Mountain, releases today, I heard the Rhett Walker Band’s great new single, Come to the River, on the radio twice this morning, Hawk Nelson just released a new single, and Mr. tobyMac himself just released a brand-spanking new video featuring Britt Nicole for Eye On It.

As you might imagine, the video is pretty sweet, and so I thought I would share it with you (and, I’ll try not to mention the fact that I got to see Mr. Mac perform that song about a month ago, and I’ll get to see him perform it again on Sunday night…oh wait, never mind.  I just can’t help myself!)

Royal Tailor News, 1/15/2013

This morning, Tauren Wells (lead singer for Royal Tailor) was on WBCL 90.3’s morning show with Phil & Larry here in Fort Wayne, and of course, seeing as how I write a Christian Music blog, I had to tune in.  (Well, even if I didn’t have the blog I probably would have listened anyway.  I’m a fan of Royal Tailor’s music and the good works they are doing with youth!)  I don’t normally write about interviews that I hear on the radio, but in this instance, I promised my young friend Samantha (who is most likely the world’s biggest Royal Tailor fan) that I would post a full summary of the interview on my blog since her mean mom made her go to school today even though it meant she had to miss Tauren’s interview on the radio.  (Some mothers!  Geesh!)

First up on the interview’s agenda was nothing really new for the die-hard Royal Tailor fan like Samantha, or even the novice Christian music blogger like myself.  The band met in college, and while this was not said in the interview, I believe the Bible college they all went to was in  Indiana.  (Further proof good things come from Indiana!)  They’ve been together as a band now for four years, and had a pretty fantastic 2012 on the Come to the Well Tour (Casting Crowns, Matthew West, Lindsay McCaul) and Worth More Than Gold tour (Britt Nicole and Group 1 Crew).  Tauren also discussed the band’s work with youth, particularly the successful ‘Making the Band’ program they did while youth workers, and Camp Electric, a similar program they teach at with the likes of TobyMac.

In one of the lighter moments of the interview, Phil asked Tauren if he had ever been to Winter Jam before just as a concert goer.  Tauren admitted that no, he had not, that this would be his first experience with Winter Jam.  Then, the guys discussed Royal Tailor’s 15 minute set, which Tauren promised would be “the most exhilarating, life changing 15 minutes ever.”  Now, I’ve seen Royal Tailor perform twice in the last year, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this were the case.  They are really that good.

Larry asked Tauren one of the more pressing questions in my mind about Royal Tailor:  “When can we expect some new music?”  According to Tauren, the band hasn’t started the process yet; they feel there are still a lot of people out there that need to hear the band’s debut album, Black and White.  Tauren added that probably after Winter Jam is over they will begin moving more in the direction of preparing for their next album.

Just because there isn’t any new music on the horizon for Royal Tailor doesn’t mean any new projects aren’t currently in development 🙂  During the interview, Tauren revealed some pretty exciting news:  in April, the Royal Tailor family (and the Wells family!) is going to grow a little bigger when Tauren’s wife gives birth to a new baby boy!    May God bless the Wells family during this exciting time!

There you have it, my summary of this morning’s interview.  All in all, I thought it was a great interview–Tauren is very well spoken, and Phil and Larry asked some good questions, although they did neglect to ask perhaps the most important question of all (at least, in my opinion anyways!):  Just how many back flips is Tauren planning for Sunday night?  More than three?  Three or less?  I’m thinking two or three, but Samantha thinks it will be more than three, probably four.  I guess we’ll just have to wait until Sunday to find out!

I Officially Declare Next Sunday…Winter Jam!

Winter Jam

So if you live in the currently cold and dreary Fort Wayne, Indiana or surrounding area, I bet I know what you are thinking about today 🙂

Winter Jam is less than 1 week away!!

Personally, I think Winter Jam day in Fort Wayne should be declared an official holiday (as well as the day after Winter Jam, because really, who wants to go to work after having that much fun the night before?  It could be dangerous to a person’s health…well, it could!)

I know out of the 365 days in a calendar year, the days I look forward to the most are as follows:

  1. Christmas
  2. Easter
  3. Winter Jam

As you might imagine, I’m starting to get pretty excited right about now.  Also making me super-duper excited this year for Winter Jam is the sweet line-up, which includes not just one of my favorites, not two, not even three, but four of my very favorite performers from 2013.  (For those of you wondering, I’m talking about the Sidewalk Prophets, Mr. TobyMac, Matthew West, and Royal Tailor.)

Since I’ll probably be twiddling most of my week away daydreaming about the upcoming Winter Jam, I have decided that I might as well do something productive with my time and write a countdown this week of the songs/performances I am most looking forward to next Sunday at Winter Jam at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

Which song/performers will come out on top as my #1 pick?  Will it be Matthew West?  The Sidewalk Prophets?  Or perhaps the master showman himself, Mr. TobyMac?

Yeah, I’m not telling.  You’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

In the meantime, however, you’ll be able to enjoy some fun snippets from me about my favorite songs.  I’ll also share the tunes on Spotify and the official videos via YouTube.  You can also take a minute and vote for your favorite song/performers at Winter Jam !

Enjoy…and if you’re in Fort Wayne, I’ll see you next Sunday!


27 Days of Christmas Music, Day 6: Chris August’s Jesus, Savior

chris august jesus savior

Chris August – Jesus, Savior

As I write today’s blog, I’m actually in the Ohio city of Toledo for the TobyMac Hits Deep tour featuring Brandon Heath, Mandisa, Chris August, Britt Nicole, Jamie Grace, Group 1 Crew, and of course, the man himself, TobyMac.

You can probably imagine that I, along with my VIP Press Pass, am near giddy with excitement. I’ve been looking forward to this night for quite some time, and I’d venture to say that wild horses couldn’t keep me away from the Huntington Center in about 2 hours.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

One thing almost did keep me away: the Anthony Wayne Bridge that spans the Maumee River in downtown Toledo.

If you don’t know anything else about me, the one thing you will probably take away from reading this blog is the truth that I am kind of a quirky person.

For starters, I am physically unable to eat meat that has a bone attached.

I can’t stand the flute.

I have a bizarre, totally inexplicable crush on TV’s Turtle Man.

And, to the delight of my friends and family, I am freakishly terrified of underground tunnels and bridges that span over waterways.

We’re talking a hyperventilating, sometimes vomiting, crying and screaming type fear.

To give you an idea of what I’m dealing with, you should know that I suffer from a recurring nightmare in which I am drive across the Mighty Mac Bridge to Mackinac, Michigan. (This, by the way would never happen, me driving across a bridge like that. It’s better for everyone if I’m blindfolded and sedated in the backseat when we drive across the Mighty Mac.) In my dream, my Honda Civic turns into a science fictional submarine that transports me back in time to World War II, where I land on the beach at Normandy during the Allied invasion of France.

Not a good time to visit France, even in a dream.

Needless to say, as much as I love going to Mackinac Island, I abhor the thought of having to cross over the Mighty Mac in the process of getting there.

My experiences with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco haven’t been much better. The one positive thing I will say is that the Golden Gate Bridge is breathtakingly beautiful, especially with two feet firmly planted on the ground outside the gift shop while taking pictures.

When I was inside a large passenger van driving over the Golden Gate Bridge…well, that was another matter entirely.

Earlier this afternoon, I was faced with my fear of bridges as I approached the venue for tonight’s concert. There, in between me and the Hits Deep Tour, was a really big, really archaic looking Smurfy blue bridge over a really wide section of the Maumee River. Seriously, this bridge looked like a bad knock-off of the Golden Gate Bridge, only not nearly as well maintained and with far fewer people on the pedestrian bridge.

I was in big trouble, and I knew it.

Abruptly, I pulled my car over to the side of the road to take a moment to come up with a plan.

Should I use my GPS to calculate a different route? A logical plan, but my GPS hates me and the spot I was in was a veritable no-man’s land so I couldn’t pick up a signal.

Should I call my doctor to have an emergency prescription of Xanax filled at the nearest CVS?

Drive across the Anthony Wayne Bridge with my eyes closed?

Turn around and go home?

There was really only one good option, and that was to buck up and just drive across the bridge. I thought to myself, ‘Really, what could go wrong?’

‘Well, since you asked,’ I replied to myself, ‘remember the bridge that collapsed in California a few years ago that killed a bunch of people? Or the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota? Wait, I think that was just a pedestrian bridge, but still, it collapsed. What if another driver veers into my lane and I end up in the river? What if there’s an earthquake, or a fire, or a tornado? What if….”

(Side note: you know you’re in a bad situation when you are having an intense mental debate with yourself. No one ever wins in this scenario.)

As I continued with my very long list of possible catastrophes that were not very likely to occur at any time, ever, I heard the words to Chris August’s song, Jesus, Savior, as his CD, No Far Away, played in my car.

Once upon a time,
In a town called Nazareth,
Lived an ordinary girl.

Mary was her name,
And she was engaged,
To Joseph the carpenter.

Suddenly an angel came,
Said, “You will have a baby boy.
But don’t be afraid,
God is with you.”

It occurred to me that Mary was a young woman who really had a legitimate reason to be fearful, at least when compared to me.

The angel Gabriel had appeared to her, announcing (and I’m loosely paraphrasing here), “Guess what? The Holy Spirit is going to come down and overshadow you, and you’re going to get pregnant! In nine months’ time you’ll give birth. Congrats, it’s a boy! He’s going to be, like, a really big deal. We’re talking the King of Kings and Lord of Lords here. A real VIP.”

Reason to be Afraid #1:  Mary had angels dropping in to visit her. I’m sure that was awesome, but freaky frightening as well.

Reason to be Afraid #2:  Mary was going to get pregnant, not the old fashioned way, but by the power of the Most High overshadowing her. I don’t know about you, but that sounds rather frightening to me, to say the least.

Reason to be Afraid #3:  Mary was going to be an unwed, teenage mother. She no doubt knew when word got out about her situation she would likely be stoned to death or worse. Yikes.

Reason to be Afraid #4:  She had no money, no job, no life skills. No way to take care of a baby, much less the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Reason to be Afraid #5:  How do you even begin to mother God in the flesh anyways? Being a parent is tough enough, but being a parent to Jesus Christ…now that is seriously intimidating.

I’m sure I’m missing at least a hundred more reasons why Mary should have been scared out of her wits, but I’m going to cut to the chase and tell you the two things that strike me the most about this song, and this story.

The first is that Gabriel tells her very plainly, “Do not be afraid. God will be with you.”

The second is Mary’s reply to Gabriel: “May it be to me as you have said. I am the Lord’s servant.”

I love Mary’s response to the news that she was to become Jesus’ mother. What I love even more, however, is the fact that God promises the very same thing to me and to you that He promised Mary on the day she learned God’s plan for her.

God promises us that He will always be with us. Always.

There is nothing, not one thing that can separate us from His love, although many a fear and phobia have tried. When we are at our feariest, He is at His kingliest.

(Yes, I know, I’m making up words again…Deal with it!)

There is quite literally no bridge that He cannot cross to get to us when we need Him, pun intended.

With the song Jesus, Savior playing on the stereo and the song Jesus, Take the Wheel playing in my mind, I made it across the Anthony Wayne Bridge without the least bit of a problem.  For about 20 whole minutes, this was the biggest accomplishment of my entire life.

Then, in one of those weird twists that my life is full of, I unexpectedly got to have a little Q&A session with the one and only TobyMac.  You know, my most favoritest singing person in the whole wide world since I was 12 years old.  (Considering I’m halfway to 70, that’s a long time.)  The one person in the entire world I told my BFF Sarah I never wanted to meet because I was afraid I’d lose all ability to speak coherently, among other things.

Yep, him.

All in all, it was a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly good day of fear fighting on my part.

Bridges and Peter Furler (the other person I never want to meet), take note.




27 Days of Christmas, Day 4: TobyMac’s This Christmas (Father to the Fatherless)

I had a so-traditional-it’s-crazy kind of upbringing as a child. My Mom, Sandy, left her job as an elementary school teacher to stay home with my brother, sister, and I in our rural Indiana farmhouse. My Dad, Rick, worked full-time at the local factory to provide for his family. Money was frequently tight, so our food budget was stretched by growing our own vegetables in the garden in the summer time for canning. My Dad was also an avid fisherman and hunter, so whatever he could catch or shoot would often times end up on the table for dinner.

A major part of my childhood was attending church with my family. We went to the church my Mom attended as a young girl, and the church my Grandma Bricker attended up until the time of her death in 2005. Unless I was on my own deathbed with an illness, I never missed a church service or Sunday School. I can maybe remember in 18 years missing 3 or 4 Sundays; one of those Sundays was due to the blizzard of 1978, so it was kind of unavoidable.

The older I became, however, the more I began to question why going to church was so important in the first place. I mean, I already had one father who was an expert in ruining all of my fun. Why did I really need another?

What it all boiled down to in my mind was that having a meaningful relationship with God was the equivalent of inviting another member of the Fun Police into my business.

I had it all figured out, and I didn’t need Him. I didn’t need the Dad I already had, either.

Or did I?

It actually wasn’t until I became a mother that I began to truly see just how important a father is in the life of a child. I began to reflect upon my relationship with my own fathers, both of them, as I observed the growing relationships between my young son and his earthly and heavenly fathers.

What I realize now, and have come to sincerely appreciate from the depths of my heart, is the fatherly love I have been blessed with my entire life.

Even when I ran away from this love, it never left me.

Even when I didn’t deserve it, I always, always, had the love of my fathers.

By their very presence in my life, my fathers showed me over and over again the true meaning of love and grace.

Doesn’t every one deserve to have the same?

In TobyMac’s song, This Christmas (Father of the Fatherless), he tells the story about a nine-year old orphan named Johnie, and how he came to find his fathers. A chorus in the song, in my opinion, is especially poignant, and one that we should remember not just at Christmas but all year-long:

Father of the fatherless

Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas, this Christmas

(You ain’t livin’ ’til you choose to give

Love and Joy and Peace to one of His)

Father let us not forget

The children who are all alone at Christmas, this Christmas

(You ain’t livin’ ’til you choose to give

Love and Joy and Peace to one of His)

With these lyrics in mind, I want to encourage you to look around you this Christmas time and ask yourself, ‘Who are the fatherless in my circle of influence?’

Maybe it’s the little neighbor girl from down the street riding the pink bicycle.

Maybe it’s the college student serving up your cappuccino at the local coffee hot spot in your town.

Maybe it’s the widow who just lost their spouse this past year that you see at the park while walking your dog, or maybe it’s the single father of three who coaches your daughter’s basketball team.

The fatherless come in all shapes and all sizes.

They are in every community, in every neighborhood, from the projects to the affluent.

They speak every language, from English and Spanish to Burmese and Swahili.

They come in a rainbow of assorted colors. Some have dark skin, some have light skin. Some may even have tattooed skin and blue hair.

Yet in spite of their differences, the one thing they all have in common is the fact that they each have a Father who loves them to the ends of the earth. He loves them so much He came to earth as a tiny baby, delivered in humblest of places, and lived His life for the express purpose of dying so that one day we all might spend eternity with Him in heaven.

I ask you, what could be a better gift to give this Christmas time than telling someone they have a Father who loves them like that?

It’s up to you this Christmas to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the fatherless.

Won’t you join me?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27