Release Date: November 10th 2017
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- I Am A Christian
Here’s a well known fact for you all- Newsong have been a household name in CCM/pop/worship music since the 80’s. Their previous studio album in 2013, Swallow The Ocean is their 18th studio album, which is remarkable by any standards. These guys, comprising of Billy Goddwin, Eddie Carswell, Matt Butler and Russ Lee, have been around longer than Delirious?, Third Day, MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Hillsong Worship, Phillips Craig And Dean, dcTalk, Jars Of Clay, Newsboys, and any other CCM band you could possibly think of! Even if you haven’t heard of the 7-piece CCM band, or any of their songs, then maybe the band members seem familiar to you; as lead singer Russ Lee has done his own solo stuff in the early 2000’s, and lead singer Billy Goodwin is the father-in-law of CCM pop artist Francesca Battistelli. And even if those aforementioned facts were brand new, perhaps you may have heard about their crowning achievement- the founding of Winter Jam in the 90’s, and now an annual tour that is one of the biggest tours of the year, with many artists included in the lineup each year (along with Newsong, of course!). Winterjam is now a launching pad for up and coming new artists, as well as one of the largest first-quarter tours in the world. Hosting the tour every year, Newsong should be very proud of themselves!
As for albums though, the band is into their third decade, and it seems like they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Because bands and musicians rarely retire. And if they do, they probably come back to the spotlight again after a few years away. Having also released their latest live worship album Faithful in 2015, as well as their new Christmas project, titled The Best Christmas Ever in 2016 (featuring a mix of newly recorded songs and fan favourites from both their 2001 and 2006 Christmas albums- The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope respectively- and the Christmas edition of Swallow The Ocean in 2013), this year marks the beginning of new material, the start of a new era. “I Am A Christian” dropped to digital outlets a few weeks ago, and let me tell you, the Russ Lee and Matt Butler led mid-tempo worship anthem and declaration is sure to get any listener fired up for worshipping Jesus, as we declare the truths He speaks over us.
The lead single for a yet to be named studio album, to be released sometime in 2018, “I Am A Christian” is one of the most inspirational, encouraging and poignant anthems I have ever heard in 2017. Hard hitting, and cutting straight to the point lyrically, we are met with Russ ardently proclaiming that ‘…I am a Christian and my name is Pilgrim, I’m on a journey but I’m not alone, Jesus is with me and He goes before me, and His love surrounds me He’s leading me Home…’, leaving nothing to the imagination- shouting to the whole world that we are in the world, but not of it, that we are strangers in this land, and that we as Christians in this world shouldn’t feel fear as Jesus is with us every step of the way. Sure to be somewhat of source of hope when we are in the pits of despair, or when tragedy is striking us down, “I Am A Christian” is a stellar song that is essentially another type of ‘Nicene Creed’.
While 2013’s Swallow The Ocean may not be the most lyrically creative or musically challenging album out, and 2015’s Faithful is in another category all together, with the worship anthems are probably some of my favourite worship songs of 2015; “I Am A Christian” is the band at their brilliant best- it’s great to hear Matt, Russ and Billy sing songs and reinvent themselves over the years, and evolving their style to stay relevant, yet also never wavering in their faith and their heavily Bible based lyrics. A declaration to proclaim at all times, “I Am A Christian” is the start of a new chapter for the band, one that I am eager to see how it turns out. So what are you waiting for? Be ministered to and worship along with Newsong, as we wait until the next new song (see what I did there!)!
3 songs to listen to: I Am A Christian…until the new album releases from Newsong, maybe in 2018!
RIYL: Jason Crabb, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Phillips Craig And Dean, Steven Curtis Chapman\