When I first met NewSong they were a four-piece group. It was the late 1980s or early 1990s and they did a show at a church on Long Island, NY that the radio station I worked at partnered with for a family concert series. Even back then they put on a high energy live show.
Since their start in 1981 at Morningside Baptist Church in Valdosta, GA, they’ve seen quite a few personnel changes. Their current lineup, at least as of this writing, consists of two original members, Eddie Carswell and Billy Goodwin, along with Russ Lee, Matt Butler, Jack Pumphrey, Mark Clay and Rico Thomas.
In 1997 the band headlined an event for a radio station I was working at in St. Louis. Somehow I, along with several members of the air staff, wound up on stage with the band during a couple of songs. They did not invite to join the group on a permanent basis.
In 1995 NewSong founded January Jam, which would be renamed Winter Jam in 2001. It’s an annual tour featuring multiple artists. The 2011 edition of Winter Jam outsold every other tour in the world for the first quarter of that year, including U2, Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Brad Paisley.
Their 1999 album, “Arise My Love: The Very Best Of NewSong,” contained 12 of their greatest songs and two new songs. I always thought the practice of including new music on a greatest hits album to be rather presumptuous, but in this case it worked out. Those two songs were “Jesus To The World” and this week’s featured song “Can’t Keep A Good Man Down.”
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