From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NewSong at Winter Jam 2017
NewSong at Winter Jam 2017
Background information
OriginValdosta, Georgia, U.S.
GenresContemporary Christian, Christian rock, gospel
Years active1981–present
  • Eddie Carswell
  • Billy Goodwin
  • Russ Lee
  • Mark Clay
  • Rico Thomas
Past members

NewSong is a prominent American contemporary Christian music group that was established in 1981, at Morningside Baptist Church in Valdosta, Georgia.[1] They have had twelve GMA Dove Award nominations, and one Grammy Award Nomination.

They are also the founders of the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, the United States' largest annual Christian music tour.[2] It began in 1995, and is hosted by NewSong. Winter Jam has had many of the most popular Contemporary artists perform each year, including TobyMac, Hillsong UNITED, Newsboys, Lecrae, MercyMe, and Skillet.[3]

NewSong has frequently provided support for organizations working with abandoned and underprivileged children. For years they worked with World Vision, a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their community to rid them of poverty and injustice. Then in 2006, the band became involved with Holt International, a world leader in child adoption and child welfare.

The original four members included the current members Eddie Carswell, Billy Goodwin, and former members Eddie Middleton and Bobby Apon.



NewSong recorded three custom albums independently. In 1982, they signed on with Covenant Records, and released The Son In My Eyes the next year. In 1984, they signed a contract with Canaan Records, a branch of CCM label giant Word Records and released The Word. NewSong continued to stay with Word Records until 1991 when they signed on with DaySpring Records. The next year they released One Heart At A Time, The Best of NewSong, which featured 12 hits from their previous albums. In 1993, they joined up with the Benson Music Group and released All Around The World, which brought four No. 1 hits. In 1993, lead vocalist Eddie Middleton left to pursue a solo career, and Bobby Apon left to spend more time with his family.


In 1994, songwriter Leonard Ahlstrom, soloist Charles Billingsley, musician Scotty Wilbanks, and the lead vocalist from the contemporary Christian band Truth, Russ Lee, joined NewSong. That year NewSong released People Get Ready which brought four No. 1 hits, and featured a re-recorded version of "Arise My Love", which was first recorded by the original group in 1987.

In 1996, Charles Billingsley left to pursue a solo career. In 1997, NewSong released Love Revolution. It featured four No. 1 hits, including "Miracles," which stayed at No.1 on the CCM Adult Contemporary chart for four consecutive weeks, tying the record set a few years earlier by Bob Carlisle's "Butterfly Kisses".

In May 1999, Bobby Apon died. He was recognized on the album Arise, My Love, The Very Best of NewSong. This featured 12 of their previous No. 1 hits. It also included two new songs which became No. 1 hits, "Can't Keep A Good Man Down", and "Jesus To The World (Roaring Lambs)", which was inspired by Christian speaker and author Bob Briner, who died later that year from cancer. They also had a third new song, "Like Minded, Like Hearted", which NewSong recorded with Out of Eden of Gotee Records.


Russ Lee and Scotty Wilbanks left NewSong in 2000. They were replaced by soloist Michael O'Brien, Steve Reischl, and former Truth member, Matt Butler. Songwriter and electric guitarist Leonard Ahlstrom also left later to help a friend manage a recording label in Florida.

Leading up to 2000, NewSong caught the attention of popular radio personality, DC Daniel (then, of "Steve & DC") and began collaborating on production ideas for future projects. The partnership led to the most successful period of NewSong's career as they released the album Sheltering Tree, in late 2000.

"Christmas Shoes" and breakthrough[edit]

DC, Eddie Carswell and Leonard Ahlstrom penned the bonus track "The Christmas Shoes" for Sheltering Tree, which became a No. 1 mainstream radio hit in a Billboard chart-record three weeks, topping Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart.

Shortly after "The Christmas Shoes" became a No. 1 song, Clive Calder shut down the Benson label. However, due to the huge career momentum coming off 2000/2001, NewSong stayed with Zomba Music, on the major Reunion label, and released a full studio Christmas album, The Christmas Shoes, which was nominated in 2003 for a Grammy Award for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album. Along with the title track, the album featured a variety of original Christmas tunes and Christmas classics "O Holy Night".

The song's success also inspired Christian author Donna VanLiere to write a book based on the song.[4] The book, which contained accounts of friendship from artists, singers, and speakers, won a Silver Angel Award.[5] The book was on the New York Times Bestseller List in 2002.[6]

The book was later made into a TV movie for CBS, called The Christmas Shoes, starring Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, which was released on December 1, 2002. It had nearly 17 million viewers and was the second highest-rated TV movie of the 2002–2003 seasons.[7]


In 2003, Donna VanLiere released The Christmas Blessing, the second book in the series spawned by "The Christmas Shoes" song. It was a New York Times bestselling book, and was later made into a TV movie by CBS. It was the most watched TV movie in 2005, and had an appearance by NewSong, which showed them singing their holiday single "The Christmas Blessing". NewSong also received a Dove Award for Musical of the Year for The Christmas Shoes Musical.[citation needed]

In March 2004, NewSong announced that they were leaving Reunion Records and moving to Integrity Music. In November 2004, NewSong recorded their live worship album and DVD, Rescue: Live Worship at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, which is the home church for several members in the band.[citation needed]

The album was officialy released in May 2005, and the DVD of the concert came out in September. In November, Scotty Wilbanks left to join the group Third Day, and to produce bands. Also in 2005, NewSong was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

In March 2006, Michael O'Brien left to restart his solo career and Drew Cline was asked to fill in. In September, Eddie Carswell, Matt Butler, Billy Goodwin, and guest artist Drew Cline released The Christmas Hope, featuring traditional Christmas carols, NewSong originals, and three songs to complement the book trilogy by Donna VanLiere. In November, The Christmas Shoes movie was released on DVD. The Christmas Hope, the third TV movie installment of the trilogy, was released in December 2008 by CBS.[citation needed]

The 2007 edition of the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, which they founded in 1995, featured headliners Steven Curtis Chapman and Jeremy Camp, with special guests Hawk Nelson, Sanctus Real, new artist Britt Nicole, Speaker Tony Nolan, Presidential impersonator and comedian John Morgan and was attended by over 275,000 people and 37,000 made decisions for Christ. In March 2007, Christian solo artist Nate Sallie joined NewSong. In April, The Christmas Hope album was nominated for a Dove Award, for Best Christmas Album of the Year.[citation needed]

The 2008 Winter Jam Tour Spectacular concluded its 34-city run on a high note with a nearly sold-out crowd at the Sommet Center in Nashville and ranked No. 4 among the Top 100 Tours logged by Pollstar over the first 90 days of this year. Winter Jam 2008 had a 16 percent increase to 311,836 fans coming to see MercyMe, Skillet, BarlowGirl, NewSong, and American Idol's Mandisa.[citation needed]

On December 29, 2008, in an email to subscribers of his newsletter, Russ Lee announced that he will be rejoining NewSong as lead vocalist.[citation needed]



Year Album Chart positions Label
US Christian US US Heat
1981 More Than Music Independent
NewSong Alive
All the Best
1982 The Son in My Eyes Covenant
1984 The Word Canaan
1986 Trophies of Grace Word
1987 Say Yes!
1989 Light Your World 34
1990 Living Proof 19 DaySpring
1992 One Heart at a Time: The Best of NewSong
1993 All Around the World Benson
1994 People Get Ready 16
1997 Love Revolution 25
1999 Arise My Love: The Very Best of NewSong 25
2000 Live...The Hits
Sheltering Tree 5 130 2
2001 The Christmas Shoes 9 113 1 Reunion
2003 More Life 10 172 9
2004 Simply NewSong Provident
2005 The Very Best of NewSong Reunion
Rescue: Live Worship 10 15 Integrity
2006 The Christmas Hope 25 5
2009 Give Yourself Away 10 149 5 HHM
2011 One True God 1 27
2013 Swallow the Ocean 3 65
2015 Faithful: Live Worship 3 88 Integrity
2016 The Best Christmas Ever HHM
2018 Greatest Hits[8] HHM
2020 Just Jesus[9] HHM


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US AC US US Country US Christ
2000 "The Christmas Shoes" 1 42 31 20 Sheltering Tree
2004 "When God Made You" 33 More Life
2012 "The Same God" 25 One True God
2017 "I Am a Christian" Just Jesus[9]
2018 "Down"
"Already Loved"
(featuring Tedashii)
"Look Up"


  1. ^ Jamie: NewSong, Todd Agnew, and Rachel Lampa in the Christmas Hope Tour Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved on August 29, 2007
  2. ^ "Celerity Entertainment History". Archived from the original on August 18, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  3. ^ "NewSong's Winter Jam Tour Spectacular Roars Into March Passing 225,000 In Paid Concert-Goers". Archived from the original on October 8, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  4. ^ "NEWSONG". Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  5. ^ "biography". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  6. ^ "New York Times Bestseller List 2002" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 18, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  7. ^ "LISTINGS". Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  8. ^ "Greatest Hits by NewSong". NewReleaseToday. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Just Jesus by NewSong". NewReleaseToday. Retrieved February 22, 2020.

External links[edit]