This coming Friday, Feb. 10, Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis will be the place to be for fans of Contemporary Christian Music as the Indiana leg of Winter Jam 2017 arrives.
Christian artists of many different stripes and backgrounds will be performing, including Grammy-nominated acts like Crowder, Britt Nicole and the creators of Winter Jam, NewSong. Also performing will be fan-favorites Tenth Avenue North, veterans such as Thousand Foot Krutch and relative-newcomers to the scene, Andy Mineo and Colton Dixon. Also making appearances will be Sadie Robertson, star of “Duck Dynasty” and a former contestant on “Dancing With the Stars,” as well as Tony Nolan, evangelist and author of 2011’s “GASP!” and 2010’s “Hurt Healer: Reaching Out to a Broken World”.
Winter Jam was initially known as January Jam from its inception in 1995 until 2000. Since then, it has grown to be one of the most popular and well-attended music tours, not only in the United States, but worldwide. This year’s tour encompasses 46 stops in major American cities, beginning in Charleston, West Virginia, and concluding in early April in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Eddie Carswell, founder of Winter Jam and co-founder of NewSong, exclaimed at the reveal event for the 2017 lineup, “I’m so excited to hit the road with all these amazing artists for 46 nights of fantastic music and life-changing ministry. As we look ahead to 2017, our prayer is simply that God will continue to bless this tour and use it for His glory.”
NewSong has much clout within the Christian music industry, having authored several popular songs, including “Arise, My Love,” and “The Christmas Shoes.” Given their standing, it’s no surprise that they can be found hosting and performing at one of the CCM community’s largest and most important events.
Crowder, arguably the most recognized name on the lineup, released his latest album, Neon Steeple, in 2014. Influenced by his upbringing in Texas, as well as his home of choice during its writing, Atlanta, Neon Steeple has lyrics that “read like pop colloquial Southern Gospel and the music sounded like Bluegrass Electronic Dance Music.”
Any fan familiar with the intricacies of either a Crowder show or album, or those of his previous project, David Crowder Band, will know that that folksy Southern charm combined with pop sensibilities is an ever-present reality.
Andy Mineo is one of the rising stars of Christian music, and for good reason. Known for his reflective lyricism, Mineo delivered his sophomore album Uncomfortable, which became one of the most popular albums in the country, reaching number three on the Billboard Hip Hop album charts, as well as number 10 on the Top 200.
On the heavier side of things, Thousand Foot Krutch stand out as veterans of the CCM scene, having just released EXHALE, a companion album to their Billboard Top 10 album OXYGEN: INHALE. For this release, the band focused on creating aspects that could be faithfully recreated live. Trevor McNevan, the front man, compares it to shopping for a house.
“We’ve seen photos of places online that look amazing, but then when you actually go see them for yourselves, they look nothing like the photos,” McNevan said. “It’s basically a great photographer and not a great house, which is exactly what we don’t want to have happen when people come see us live.”
Tenth Avenue North, another veteran act, is touring on their fifth studio outing, Followers. Based in themes of self-worth, obedience and surrender, Followers reflects the thoughts of frontman Mike Donehey through its themes.
“With this record, I started to realize how a lot of my dreams weren’t big enough and that they were very much mine–like getting signed, getting played on the radio,” Donehey said. “Those aren’t the kind of dreams that will satisfy your heart.”
A transplant from the more secular, reality show side of the music industry, Colton Dixon is another of the rising stars in the CCM community, having catapulted to fame after his 7th place finish on the 11th season of “American Idol” and his strong debut with 2013’s A Messenger. Touring with material from his newest work, Anchor, Dixon is one of the artists to watch going in to the future.
Britt Nicole, another strong relative newcomer to Winter Jam, rounds out the list of performances during the main show.
The Pre-Jam Party, a staple of the tour, will feature OBB, Sarah Reeves and Steven Malcolm.
Tickets for general admission are $10. Jam Nation memberships, which enable early entry and seating, as well as access to exclusive merchandise, are available at jamtour.com.