Matthew West is preparing for the spring.
“I’ve been collecting and storing all of my ideas,” says the 39-year old singer-songwriter, who will be in town Saturday to headline the West Coast run of Winter Jam tour. The $10 Christian music showcase stops at the Save Mart Center.
West will spend the first few months of the new year in the studio turning those ideas into songs for a new album, the followup to “Live Forever,” which debuted at the top of Billboard’s Christian Albums chart last year. He’ll also put the finishing touches on “Hello, My Name Is,” a book of his own life stories. It’s scheduled for release in April. Before that, he’ll do a short tour in support of his just-released Christmas album, “Unto Us.”
But first, there’s Winter Jam, which kicked off its 10-city West Coast run on Tuesday night. The annual tour brings together the biggest names in Christian music and has become a huge draw in the industry. It ranked 10th worldwide, according to midyear stats from the trade publication Pollstar and outdrew artists such as Paul McCartney, Madonna and the Cure.
West is a Grammy-nominated songwriter who has written songs for Rascal Flatts and Scotty McCreery, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Casting Crowns. He headlines the tour, but is far from its only star. He’s joined by fellow singer-songwriter Crowder, whose debut album was No 8. on Billboard’s Top 200; plus Britt Nicole, who opened for TobyMac at the Save Mart Center in March; RED, KB/Tedashii and the singer Mandisa.
Mandisa is a friend of West’s and a Grammy winner who was featured on season five of “American Idol.” She finished ninth.
It’s an amazing amount of talent for one bill, West says, and much of the reason that the tour is so popular with fans.
“They’re coming into the arena and seeing all of these great performers,” he says. That’s regardless of the the tour’s obvious Christian overtones. A lot of Christian artists are making music that can stand up in any genre.”
Some of those artists, himself included, are lucky enough to be given a platform outside of the church to share their message of hope.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity I am given day in and day out,” he says.
- 7 p.m. Saturday
- Save Mart Center
- $10 at the door. No advance ticket required
- 559-347-3400, 2016.jamtour.com