Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • Published May 10, 1999
"There were nights I remember people grabbing at my legs while I'm out front playing a solo or something, screaming and all kinds of other things happening. I remember nights just looking up, going 'God, I'm sorry. This is just silly.'"
--Lincoln Brewster

by Mike Nappa for the Music Channel at

Music is a mysterious thing, and the people who create music are possibly even more of a mystery. How do these folks "hear" new melodies? Create new songs?

For some, inspiration can come from hearing a powerful sermon. Others fuse lyrics and rhythm together after enduring a tragedy, or enjoying success, or simply to combat the inevitable boredom brought on by a musician's life on the road. For youth-oriented worship leader {{Lincoln Brewster}}, however, the motivation to write sometimes comes spur-of-the-moment. Say, while he's performing the song itself!

At least that's the way it happened with one song from Lincoln's self-titled debut album. For the hyperactive, neo-punk praise-fest, "Spin," it all started at a 1997 concert. "I was playing with {{Danny Chambers}} at a church [in Indiana]," he says. "I guess Danny had talked to the pastor and they decided to have me get up and do five or six songs beforehand."

Even though he hadn't finished writing "Spin," the ever-adventurous Lincoln decided to include that song as the closing number in his set. "I didn't have lyrics for the song, except for the chorus," he admits now. "So, I kind of had to like make stuff up! But it just flew. It was really cool."

There you have it, music fans. The only motivation Lincoln Brewster needs to write a jamming praise song is a stage, a guitar, and a crowd full of rowdy high school and college students screaming for more. Curious how that first audience took to Lincoln's improvisational skills? "Oh, it was funny," Lincoln laughs. "I mean, they thought it was great. They started following the moves and dancing and going nuts. I thought they were going to do back-flips over the pews!"

The truth is those excited young people aren't the only ones to appreciate the musical talents of Lincoln Brewster. He's been delighting audiences literally his whole life. He was just a diaper-clad one-year-old when he received his first musical gift, a drum set from his grandfather. Lincoln's family didn't think much about it at first, but his mother soon noticed her baby boy was astonishingly good at keeping rhythm on those drums.

The years passed, and before his eighth birthday Lincoln's mother had taught him to play mandolin and guitar, and was filling his life with the influence of other local musicians who helped Lincoln hone his craft. At twelve, the boy started his first band-Lincoln and the Missing Links. His career had begun.

By the time he reached nineteen, Lincoln had what he'd always wanted: A recording contract with a mainstream company, and a budding music career. He was on his wayand yet he felt so empty. In spite of his success, Lincoln knew something was missing.

It was during this time that a Christian girlfriend kept inviting him to join her at church. "I'd hear a sermon," Lincoln says, "go outside, cry and say 'That was my life that guy just preached. How did he know?'"

Before long, God got hold of this musician's heart. Lincoln reports, "One night, I laid all my cards on the table. I asked the Lord to come into my life."

Becoming a Christian gave the young man a new perspective and provided new strength for his life. He turned down the mainstream recording deal and dedicated himself to searching out God's will for his life.

In 1994 Lincoln was invited to join Steve Perry, former lead singer for hit mainstream rockers Journey, as a studio guitarist and songwriter. Then he signed on as Perry's guitarist for a 1994-1995 rock-n-roll tour. It was during this time Lincoln finally saw the direction he wanted for his life.

The first show with Steve Perry was at The Riverfront Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Lincoln recalls, "I just remember the lights going out and walking on stage and the crowd was so loud. I just couldn't believe it, that I was getting to go up and play all these songs for them too."

But all that glitters isn't gold, and Lincoln soon wished for something more. "The excitement wears off," he says "and then you really start looking at what you're doing. I would see people coming into these buildings that were hurting and we weren't really doing anything to help them out. There was really no message."

Lincoln also found himself uncomfortable with fame. "People pretty much just worship you when you're in situations like that," he sighs. "And I wanted to be cautious of that. I mean, there were nights I remember people grabbing at my legs while I'm out front playing a solo or something, screaming and all kinds of other things happening. I remember nights just looking up, going 'God, I'm sorry. This is just silly.'"

After the tour ended, Lincoln-now married to that sweetheart who invited him to church-took a job as a worship leader at a church in Modesto, California. There, making music with a message, he finally felt at peace-and at home with his life.

A few years later, he had another offer to record an album, this time for the youth-oriented worship label, Vertical Music. It was a match made in heaven, and resulted in Lincoln's just-released self-titled debut album, ==Lincoln Brewster==.

Reflecting on his past and his new role as a cutting-edge worship leader Lincoln says, "If what I do in my life -- no matter what I'm doing -- doesn't point people to God, then I need to do something else unless I have a absolutely specific call."

He smiles. "But I just believe that we're put here to point other people towards Christ. I believe that's what we're supposed to do."

Creating music is a mysterious thing. But the music of life is larger than any notes you could play or words you might sing. Each day brings with it another opportunity to create a new song. For {{Lincoln Brewster}}, there's no doubt that it's with this kind of music that he seeks to hear the applause of an audience of One.