Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

Winter Jam 2006 happens on the 4th of this month at Broadbent arena. Newsboys, Newsong, Toby Mac, Zoegirl, Hawk Nelson and Krystal Meyers are on the bill. I talked with Kristen Swinford from Zoegirl about the tour and about what's going on with the group.

Louisville Music News: "Tell me how things are going just in general in your life and then we'll talk a little bit about Winter Jam, but what's going on with your right now personally?

Kristin Swinford: Well, personally, recently my husband and I moved out of Nashville. We moved back to Missouri to be closer to family members and kind of settle there.

LMN: Why did you want to do that?

KS: Well, we're from Missouri. We are high school sweethearts and both of our parents and a lot of our families live there and, you know, we just got to thinking about OK, where do we want to raise our kids, our children and start our family and kind of settle and we just really felt like, you know, we've been in Nashville now for several years. I've lived in Nashville since 1998, but we just kind of felt like we wanted to settle closer to our families so we made the move back at the end of October and it's been really great so I'm kind of commuting back and forth to Nashville.

LMN: Wow!

KS: It's not too bad. It's about a three-and-a-half hour drive.

LMN: Oh, OK. Well that's not as bad as I was thinking. OK, well, Zoegirl is on this Winter Jam tour [about] which there's been a lot of excitement. Such a great line-up and have you done any dates for this yet or is it about to start?

KS: We have done three concerts so far.

LMN: Tell me about the concerts. How have they gone?

KS: You know, we've never done Winter Jam, so we were real excited to come on it, but I have just been really amazed at how wonderful it's gone and just at how many people have shown up. It's a pretty inexpensive ticket, $10 at the door, but we have just had a great showing for the first three dates and, you know, all the artists that are on the tour are just wonderful. There's a nice atmosphere between everybody, you know, it's been fun to hang out and get to know the bands we've never toured with before and so far it's really gone really great, really smoothly and it's just been wonderful.

LMN: Have you toured with any of these artists before?

KS: Yeah, we have. We toured with Newsboys and did a tour with them and we have kind of done a few Shoutfest dates with Krystal Meyer and, you know, we've been at shows, you know, with Toby Mac and stuff before, so it's kind of neat to be back, you know, with those people and also, you know, get to know like Hawk Nelson. We've never met before and they're great guys.

LMN: Really?

KS: Yeah, they really are. They're real funny and so it's just been a lot of fun.

LMN: Well, good. That sounds great. It sounds like a really, really cool tour like you said; inexpensive ticket, too, so it's something that most people can afford. Most people can scrape together $10. I mean, I know, you know, at least in the big cities like Louisville, I mean going to see a movie is almost that much.

KS: Exactly. Yeah, I think it's a really great event for families to come to `cause it's just a really jam-packed evening. I mean it's a lot of energy and there's just a lot going on so I think it is well worth, you know, the price.

LMN: Absolutely. Tell me about your part in Winter Jam. I've seen you before in concert, but what is your concert time like?

KS: Well, we have a twenty-minute set and so we're doing three kinds of songs from previous albums and we've got one brand-new song that we're kind of debuting on this tour that is off of our new album, which is a `Best Of,' it's called "With All My Heart." There are two brand new songs on that, so we're doing ... "Unchangeable," so it's been kind of fun to see how that goes over with people. So far the response has been good.

LMN: Well, tell me a little bit about Zoegirl and what the ladies in the group, yourself included, want to do as a group. What is your mission as a group with your particular sound and who are you trying to reach or what's your mission, I guess?

KS: Well, we've been together for just about six-and-a-half years now and honestly, I think we really feel like anybody who is open to listening to our music we are so grateful for that. God has really kind of given us a specific audience of young women and girls and that's just been really close to our hearts. We've written a lot of issue-oriented songs and so really we've just kind of found over the years that God has used that to really strike a chord in girls' lives and we have talked about everything from self-esteem and the pressures that they face and temptations and just really how to take a stand in their life for Christ and know that they're finding their worth in Him as opposed to all the other places that really just leave us empty at the end.

LMN: Now, I do want to touch on a couple of other subjects while I've got you. I wanted to ask you about your trip down to South America last year, correct?

KS: We went to Ecuador.

LMN: Ecuador. Tell me about that.

KS: This will be our third trip. We were approached by a mission organization to do a Zoegirl-sponsored mission trip and so for the past two years, [we] have gone to Kito, Ecuador. We have continually gone back there because we feel like we have built relationships and it's been a good way for us to continue work that we've started. So last year, we took eighty people down; some youth groups, some individuals, parents and their kids. We do a lot of mission work. We do street ministry where they reach out and perform a drama that they learned in training which happens in Miami and we do just a lot of community outreach to orphanages and retirement homes and we visit Compassion International sites. Just anything we can really do, if it's work projects at churches or it's shoveling gravel all day or painting, really we just try to meet the needs that are there that we can and then we do a big, huge evangelistic concert at the end of the week which we promote all week long and there's a local artist, Christian artist, that is always involved with us so it's a really great experience.

Tickets for Winter Jam are available through Ticketmaster. Next month: Third Day and The David Crowder Band come to the Louisville Palace! Again. Tickets available through the mighty, all-powerful Ticketmaster.