NewSong was founded in 1981 at MorningsideBaptistChurch in Valdosta, Georgia. The original four were current members Eddie Carswell, Billy Goodwin, and former members Eddie Middleton and the late Bobby Apon. They released “More Than Music”, “NewSong Alive”, & “All The Best” in 1981 independently. They signed on with Covenant Records in 1981, then in 1982, released “The Son In My Eyes”. In 1984, they signed a contract with Canaan Records, a branch of CCM label giant Word Records and released “The Word”. NewSong continued to stay with Word Records with the follow up albums; “Trophies of Grace” in 1986, “Say Yes” in 1987, and “Light Your World” of 1989. In 1991, NewSong signed on with DaySpring Records, releasing “Living Proof” and “One Heart At A Time, The Best of NewSong” in 1992. That record featured 12 hits from “The Word” through “Living Proof”. In 1993, they joined up with the Benson Music Group and released “All Around The World”, which brought four #1 hits. That year, NewSong went through some changes. Lead vocalist Eddie Middleton left and pursued a solo career, and Bobby Apon left to spend more time with his family.
In 1994, lead Truth vocalist Russ Lee, songwriter Leonard Ahlstrom, soloist Charles Billingsley, and musician Scotty Wilbanks joined Carswell and Goodwin. That year they released “People Get Ready”. This brought four #1 hits, and also featured a re-recorded version of the classic “Arise My Love”, first recorded by the original group in 1987. In 1995 Charles Billingsley left to again pursue a solo career. In 1997, they released “Love Revolution”. This featured again four #1 hits, including “Miracles”, which stayed at #1 on the CCM Adult Contemporary chart for four consecutive weeks, tying the record set a few years earlier by Bob Carslie’s “Butterfly Kisses”. They also released that same year an enhanced album, “Joy To The Rhythm of the World”. In May of 1999, Bobby Apon died. He was recognized on their 1999 album “Arise, My Love, The Very Best of NewSong”. This featured all twelve #1 hits from “All Around The World”, “People Get Ready”, and “Love Revolution”. It also included the “Arise, My Love” recording from “People Get Ready”, as well as three new songs. “Can’t Keep A Good Man Down” and “Jesus To The World (Roaring Lambs), a song inspired by Christian speaker and author Bob Briner, became #1 hits. Bob Briner died later that year from cancer. The third song, “Like Minded, Like Hearted”, was a duet between NewSong and Out of Eden of Goatee Records.
In 2000, Russ Lee and Scotty Wilbanks left Ahlstrom, Goodwin, and Carswell. Lee pursued a so far excellent solo career, while Wilbanks played keyboard and produced for various Christian bands.. They were replaced by soloist Michael O’Brien, former Truth Member Matt Butler, and Steve Reischl. The new group then released “NewSong Live… The Hits” in 2000. In 2000 they also released “Sheltering Tree”. That year, author Donna VanLiere and Eddie Carswell released a book entitled Sheltering Trees: The Power, Promise, and Refuge Of Friendship. The album spawned “The Christmas Shoes”, a Christmas bonus track. This was also the only #1 hit from “Sheltering Trees”. After the release, songwriter, producer and guitarist Leonard Ahlstrom left to help a friend manage a recording label in Florida. NewSong left Benson Records, and signed on with Reunion Records in 2001, then released their very first Christmas album, entitled “The Christmas Shoes”. It featured the title cut, Christian Christmas music, as well as secular Christmas music, such as “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” and “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. It also included a re-recording of the NewSong classic “Light Your World”, released in 1989. The album, despite its success, received no #1 hits. The song inspired Donna VanLiere to write a book based on the song. The Christmas Shoes book inspired CBS to make a movie based on the book. “The Christmas Shoes” movie was released on December 2002.
After the release of the movie, vocalist and musician Matt Butler left. He was replaced by former member Scotty Wilbanks. Steve Reischl also left after the release of the movie to pursue a solo career. In mid 2003, new member Michael Land, who had been with NewSong just a few months, left because of a new baby in his family. He was replaced by former member Matt Butler. On September 9th, 2003, Eddie Carswell, Billy Goodwin, Michael O’Brien, Matt Butler, and Scotty Wilbanks released "More Life" with Reunion Records.. Donna VanLiere wrote another book, The Christmas Blessing. Then in March of 2004, they announced that they were leaving Reunion Records and forming their own record label. In November of 2004, NewSong recorded their next album, “Rescue: Live Worship”. This album was recorded live at their home church of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, under Senior Pastor Dr. Johnny Hunt, with the help of Integrity Records. The album was released in May of 2005, while the DVD of the concert came out in September. In November Scotty Wilbanks left to play keyboard for Third Day. Donna VanLiere released her new book The Christmas Hope, the third in the series spawned by the hit The Christmas Shoes, while CBS made another TV movie based on the second book (The Christmas Blessing). In March of 2006, Michael O’Brien left to restart his solo career.
NewSong's Number One Hits
1. Living Proof (Living Proof)
2. Only The Hands (Living Proof)
3. More God (All Around The World)
4. All Around The World (All Around The World)
5. Got Me Going (All Around The World)
6. Hero Of The Faith (All Around The World)
7. When I’m With You (People Get Ready)
8. We Wear His Name (People Get Ready
9. This One’s With Me (People Get Ready)
10. My Heart’s Already There (People Get Ready)
11. Love Revolution (Love Revolution)
12. Miracles (Love Revolution)
13. Rhythm Of the World (Love Revolution)
14. Won’t Stop Love (Love Revolution)
15. Can’t Keep A Good Man Down (Arise, My Love, The Very Best Of NewSong)
16. Jesus To The World (Arise, My Love, The Very Best Of NewSong)