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Posted on Fri. Jan. 18, 2013 - 12:01 am EDT

The glory be to God

Band credits faith with success of annual Winter Jam

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If you go

What: Winter Jam Spectacular with NewSong, TobyMac, Red, Matthew West, Jamie Grace and Capital Kings

When: 6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave.

Admission: $10 at the door

When Eddie Carswell of NewSong talks about the success of the Winter Jam Spectacular, there’s no mention of “I” or “we.” Instead he turns all the praise for the Christian music tour back to one man: God.

“One thing I say (is that) it’s such a faith event,” he says by phone while on a stop in West Virginia. “It’s not a NewSong tour; it’s not anybody’s tour; it’s God’s tour. It’s a God idea.”

But NewSong does get credit for founding Winter Jam, which started in 1995. This year will be No. 18 for the band.

“God just multiplied that over and over again,” Carswell says. “… We’re just a part of it.”

Carswell says that when Winter Jam started, the band made it a goal that anybody could come if they wanted to. They started selling admission for $3, then bumped it up to the current price of $10. There are no tickets; concertgoers pay at the door.

The tour is marketed as 10 bands for $10, and there are some amazing bands this year, he says.

“We try to have 10 bands that you really want to go hear,” Carswell says.

Other performers this year include TobyMac, Red, Matthew West, Sidewalk Prophets, Jamie Grace, Royal Tailor, Jason Castro, OBB and Capital Kings.

Carswell says he is amazed at the number of people who line up to get in to the show, which year after year includes a line that snakes through the Memorial Coliseum parking lot. Carswell says he believes some of the photos on the Winter Jam website’s video are from Fort Wayne.

NewSong has been on tour with its album, “One True God,” which was released last year. The band’s new album, “Swallow the Ocean,” comes out Feb. 12.

Carswell, who writes a lot of the band’s songs, says he is “thrilled it’s finished.”

When writing songs through the years, he says he has found that he has “to be really sensitive to what God wants you to write about.” He says the album title is from an old hymn called “The Love of God,” in which the last verse talks about how if all the oceans were filled with ink, they would be drained dry if you tried to write about the love of God.

Carswell says it’s always been the mission of the band to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and “not be ashamed of what we do.”

NewSong started out 31 years ago as a church band in Georgia, and Carswell says God “keeps giving us something wonderful to do.”

“We said we would do this, … until God tells us to stop,” Carswell says. “People are wanting and needing to hear what we want to say. (God) put us into this Winter Jam and different situations and keeps us close to brand new artists.

“I’m still wondering what is the next thing he wants us to do.”

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