Winter Jam performers are united by faith

Winter Jam musicians, including Crowder, each have distinct styles and sounds.
Winter Jam musicians, including Crowder, each have distinct styles and sounds. Photo provided

Faith-based musicians will join together Jan. 8 for Winter Jam 2016 at the Bryce Jordan Center.

The event will include Crowder, RED, Sidewalk Prophets, NewSong, KB/Tedashii/Trip Lee, Lauren Daigle, evangelist Tony Nola as well as headliners King & Country and singer-songwriter Matthew West.

“It’s going to be incredible,” West said. “I actually had the opportunity to be at the BJC last fall doing a full concert. This is a big circus, it’s incredible. There’s never a dull moment.”

West is one of 10 artists who will perform throughout the night.

“This my second time being part of this tour, and I love coming back to the BJC. It’s all different kinds of music, thousands of people; it’s the perfect concert for anyone who is ADD,” he said, laughing.

Participating acts for the Winter Jam may have vastly different musical stylings, but they are all united by their faith. West calls faith the driving force of his life, the lens he looks through to see what kind of father he wants to be and whant kind of music he puts into the world.

“That’s really why my music is faith-based,” he said. “It’s songs about life but through this lens of my faith. And, because of that, they wind up being songs about hope. They let people know that no matter how difficult things may be in your life, there’s still hope. It’s not over.”

It’s a powerful night of worship and music. I’ve really never seen anything like it.

Matthew West

Classic singer-songwriters are some of West’s favorite musicians.

“James Taylor is one of my all time favorites,” West said. “Billy Joel and a lot of country music are some of the things I love. And, some of the things I love don’t necessarily influence my specific music style. Country music is all about stories, and my music is all inspired by true stories, so I guess some of my influences find a way into my music one way or the other.”

West’s love and affinity for music started at a young age, but he didn’t get serious about music until later in life. Music took a backseat early on to baseball and football, he said.

“By the end of my senior year of high school, I realized that I wasn’t going to get that baseball scholarship that I hoped I was going to receive,” he said. “Music started to take over. I actually studied music in college as a major, and that’s really when my dreams and aspirations for the career I have now started.”

Beyond Winter Jam, 2016 promises to be quite a busy year for West.

“I actually just released a brand new book. It’s called ‘Day One,’ he said. “These days I’m getting the chance to not only make records, but also write books and hope those books encourage people. I’ll be on tour this spring with Winter Jam, we’re doing 50 shows across the country. I’ll do some more shows after that, it’s going to be a busy year for me! I’ve got something like 90 concerts already booked for 2016.”

West also plans to write songs and make a record for 2017.

“You start planning way ahead and you’re thinking, ‘Where does the time go?’ But, I’m going to take it one day at a time, and I’m going to soak up the day I get to spend at the Bryce Jordan Center. I know I’m going to be hopping over to the (Berkey) Creamery and getting some ice cream from there,” West said.

While West may be a man of many talents, he’s never really considered a profession outside of music.

“I’ve never even thought about it, I’ve never given myself a backup plan,” he said. “I love working with young people, so maybe I’d be some sort of a youth director. I’ve also always loved commercials and coming up with commercial jingles. So, maybe I’d be in the marketing department working on jingles for commercials somewhere.”

Tickets for Winter Jam are a $10 donation and are available at the door on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“It’s unlike any other tour that I’ve ever been a part of because there’s so many bands, and it’s only ten bucks,” West said. “There’s no way that this concert should even be able to go on for that ticket price. It’s really exciting that we can all gather together for one night at the Bryce Jordan Center. It’s a powerful night of worship and music. I’ve really never seen anything like it. We’re going to be putting together a pretty powerful show, and can’t wait to share this music live. There’s nothing like it, I can’t wait.”


  • What: Winter Jam 2016 Tour Spectacular
  • When: 6:45 p.m. Jan. 8
  • Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park
  • Info: www.bjc.psu.edu