Prior to Winter Jam, I was talking to my Mom and telling her that I had a writing assignment and would be going to the show. Being a Mom, she wanted to know who all was going to be there. I started down the list, “TobyMac, Sidewalk Prophets, Matthew West, Jamie Grace, Red, Royal Tailor, Jason Castro, Newsong…”
“Newsong?” My Mom perked up. “I don’t know any of those other groups, but I know Newsong. Russ Lee, that’s one man that can really sing!” said my Mom.
Now, I’m not entirely sure because I’ve never seen this happen before, but I think in that moment my mother may have swooned an eensy little bit.
I wasn’t sure which to be more embarrassed by: the fact that my mother may have just swooned, or the fact that my mother doesn’t know who TobyMac is.
With my mother’s endorsement of Newsong ringing in my ears, my BFF Sarah and I headed off to Winter Jam the next day. I may have suffered some emotional regression during this time, because I sort of felt like a teenager who couldn’t possibly like the same music as her mother. I’m going to be completely honest here: I planned to take a concession stand/potty break during the Newsong portion of the concert because, and I’m being real here, if my Mom doesn’t even know who any of my favorite bands are, how reliable of a judge can she really be about who’s a good singer anyways?
Well, the time came for Newsong to play and wouldn’t you know that just as I was about to duck out, something of a technological nature went awry on stage. After attending many a concert in my lifetime, let me let you in on a little secret: it’s very revealing to watch what happens when things breakdown on stage during a performance. Very revealing. As a writer and avid people watcher, I can’t possibly walk away from the potential reality stage drama that could ensue during a meltdown of this magnitude.
Alas, the Newsong guys proved to be real pros, and whatever the problem was it only took 10 minutes or so to fix. By then, I was into taking some pictures with the neat lighting they had going on up on the stage.
Keep in mind, at this point I still knew nothing about Newsong other than my Mom’s glowing words of praise. I had to admit that they had a rich, robust sound and vibrant harmonies. The first soloist to step out on the stage extension I mistakenly assumed was the guy my Mom had referred to as Russ Lee, because, well, he too could sing. He was also easy on the camera lens, and I could see why my Mom would swoon over those cheekbones and shaggy blonde hair. (I still have no idea what this guy’s name is, but Sarah informed me he was not Russ Lee. Apparently, Russ Lee was the emcee of the Q&A session at the beginning of the afternoon, but that somehow managed to slip past me. It would seem a lot was slipping past me during Winter Jam on January 20th.)
Then, Russ Lee took to the stage extension, and I have to admit, for once my Mom was right. The man can sing! (I won’t mention that he looks like a younger version of my Dad, because he did, and that in itself was kind of weird. I guess we all know what my Mom’s type is now!)
You know, I really wasn’t expecting much from Newsong simply because of my Mom, so I ended up being very pleasantly surprised. I totally loved the rousing Gospel trio sing along that I’m surprised didn’t blow the roof off the Coliseum during Newsong’s performance. It was wicked good in a religious sort of way; and, for the record, I was raised in a Lutheran church so Gospel music is the equivalent of the German language to me. I don’t understand very much of it, but when it’s done right, I can feel the emotion of it all the way down to my bones. I also liked the new music they played so much so that I pre-ordered two of their new album, Swallow the Ocean, one for me and one for Mom. (I’m not a pre-orderer, so this is kind of a big deal for me.)
So kids, the moral of this story is, if your parents happen to tell you before you go to Winter Jam that they love Newsong, don’t let that mislead you. You have my completely honest and unbiased opinion that Newsong is very awesome and very cool so even though our parents may like them too, so save your trip to the concession stand/potty for the intermission (there is an intermission…I forget when exactly, but I do remember there is one!)