NewSong headlines Christmas concert in High Point

Nov. 29, 2012 @ 04:36 PM

NewSong continues to get a lot of mileage out of “The Christmas Shoes,” its smash hit of a dozen years ago.
“I call it ‘The Little Song That Could,’ ” says NewSong’s Eddie Carswell, who co-wrote “The Christmas Shoes” and watched it explode into a number-one hit on mainstream radio that also spawned a series of New York Times best-selling novels and a couple of highly rated made-for-television movies. “It’s just been amazing.”
NewSong, a popular contemporary Christian music mainstay, will perform the song in High Point on Monday evening when the band’s annual “Very Merry Christmas Tour” comes to town.
The concert, taking place at First Wesleyan Church, will also feature Christian artists Francesca Battistelli, Building 429 and Jonny Diaz.
“The Christmas Shoes” tells the story of a little boy at a department store on Christmas Eve. He has gone to the store to buy a pair of shoes for his terminally ill mother, because he wants her to look beautiful “if Mama meets Jesus tonight.”
The little boy doesn’t have enough money to buy the shoes, though, so the narrator of the song pays the difference, explaining that the boy’s sweet story has helped him realize what Christmas is all about.
According to Carswell, the members of NewSong were not prepared for the success that their touching – some would say schmaltzy – song would achieve.
“I think it just touches a lot of heartstrings,” he says during a telephone interview from the road.
“I think it’s the sweetness of the little boy, whose mother has obviously talked to him about the fact that she’s going to heaven. She’s told him that she’s going to be going to heaven to be with Jesus. She’s obviously had some great conversations with him, which makes it really sweet. It’s sad, but sweet at the same time.”
According to Carswell, when NewSong performs the song in High Point, a local children’s choir will sing the final chorus with the band.
NewSong will perform other Christmas songs during its concert in High Point, as will the other three artists.
“It will be predominantly Christmas music,” Carswell explains. “The whole first half of the concert is all Christmas music. Then everybody will do a song or two of their own, and then we’ll go back and end up with Christmas music again. But a lot of times people have a special song by an artist, and we don’t want them going away saying ‘I can’t believe they didn’t sing that song,’ so we let each artist sing one or two of their own songs.”
In addition to the Grammy-nominated NewSong, which has garnered 20 number-one Christian radio singles, the concert’s other three artists have all achieved success in the Christian genre:
• Francesca Battistelli has earned a Grammy nomination and six Dove Awards – including the 2011 Artist of the Year – and 18 Dove nominations. She has sold more than 700,000 albums since her Christian music debut in 2008.
• Building 429 scored a number-one hit in 2004 with “Glory Defined” – BMI’s Christian Song of the Year – and the band has continued to be a steady force on the Christian charts, most recently with its megahit “Where I Belong.”
• Jonny Diaz had a number-one Christian radio single with “More Beautiful You” in 2010, earning him a Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year. The song also was a hit on mainstream charts.
In addition to performing individually, the artists will collaborate on some songs during the concert, Carswell says.
“That’s one of the things that’s fun about this tour,” he says. “There’s a lot of merging together and having fun with each other, and I think people really enjoy that. I know we sure enjoy it.”
jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579

Want to go?

The “Very Merry Christmas Tour,” featuring NewSong, Francesca Battistelli, Building 429 and Jonny Diaz, will come to High Point’s First Wesleyan Church, located at 1701 Westchester Drive, at 7 p.m. Monday.
The concert is part of the church’s Compassion Performing Arts Series.
Tickets range from $15 to $35 and are available in advance at www.itickets.com or at the church.
For more information, call the church office 884-1111.