Friday Oct 29 2010
Lincoln Brewster performs all over the country, calls Bayside Church home
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
Popular Christian musician released seventh album, "Real Life," in September
Lincoln Brewster feels like every day is “solid gold” with his two young sons. The other day he took his 5-year-old son Liam to the pumpkin patch. Later that night Liam and his 8-year-old brother Levi carved Jack-o-lanterns with dad’s help. It was a good day. It’s days like these that Brewster misses when he’s out of town performing at venues across the United States as an award-winning Christian musician. “There are parts I love and parts I hate,” Brewster said. “The hardest part is being away from my family. I realized my kids need me more as they get older, not less.” He’s almost done wrapping up his current tour, with a performance at the half-time show of the Sacramento Mountain Lions football game tonight, a concert in Turlock and an appearance at a youth conference in Ohio. Much closer to home, Brewster serves as worship minister at Bayside Church in Granite Bay. This September marked his 10th anniversary with the church, which regularly seats 10,000 guests at Sunday services. Brewster, 39, is no stranger to large crowds. He earned his first recording contract at 19 years old and played lead guitar for Steve Perry, former singer with the rock band Journey, for a brief period in his mid-20s. He has since branched out as a successful solo artist — four songs from his last CD, “Today is the Day,” topped Billboard’s Christian Songs chart. Brewster recently released his seventh album, titled “Real Life,” which he calls his most transparent songwriting to date. He wrote uplifting and energetic fast songs, but other tracks offer deeper insight into the man behind the music. “It’s more introspective with more personal songs, which is different than anything I’ve done in the past,” Brewster said. “It’s called ‘Real Life’ because that’s what it felt like making the record. I made it out my house, my family was around and it was based on real experiences.” The first verse of the title track chronicles his childhood growing up in a beach shack in the small fishing town of Homer, Alaska. His mother remarried and he felt the violent brunt of domestic and alcohol abuse at the hands of his stepfather. The love he received from his mom eased him through his tough childhood, he said. The song’s second verse jumps forward to his life today and the last verse addresses the future. “Lots of people relate to (the song) because we all have a past, we’ve all got a today and we all wonder about tomorrow,” Brewster said. Bayside Church Music Director Steve Padilla played keyboard on some of the songs. He also performs live with Brewster and acts as the band’s road manager. “It was a fun project,” Padilla said. “I really like the CD. It’s my personal favorite. Some of the songs are very revealing about who he is and where he comes from. He’s never really done that before on any of his other albums.” Padilla said Christian songs are meant to be sung at churches all over the place, and while Brewster’s new album is “rich in texture,” the songs are accessible enough that other musicians can grab an acoustic guitar and play them. “That’s the telltale sign of a great song,” he said. Padilla joined Bayside seven years ago as a volunteer, soon connecting up with Brewster. “He’s become one of my really close friends,” Padilla said. “I appreciate that I can always go to him for advice and because of his life experiences, he offers a healthy perspective.” Brewster ended up at Bayside after a succession of bad ministry experiences left him bitter and skeptical, he said. A friend told him about a growing church in Granite Bay, so he and his wife, Laura, packed up their stuff and moved from their home in Nashville. Brewster spent his late-teenage years in Modesto and was eager to return to California. “Something inside of me said, ‘Give this a chance,’” he said. Taking that chance paid off, and Brewster continues to devote himself to the local church and creating music he hopes has lasting value for listeners. “I heard that an inheritance is what you leave for someone, but a legacy is what you leave in someone,” he said. “I want to be a legacy guy and God to be proud of me.” Sena Christian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.