published Monday, February 6th, 2012

Off the Couch: Winter Jam returns Sunday

LISA DENTON: Barry, I was a little afraid they might cancel Winter Jam for lack of winter, but this musical extravaganza is still on track for McKenzie Arena on Sunday.

It's contemporary Christian music's largest annual tour and probably its best bargain. For $10, you can see 10 musical acts, an illusionist and an inspirational speaker.

BARRY COURTER: Lord knows you need to find religion, so I will spot you the $10 and throw in some folding money for the prayer offering.

LISA: What can I say? I'm a firm believer in "Let not your heart be troubled." If there's a time to weep and a time to laugh, I can find a reason to laugh most all of the time.

But I'll leave the preaching to Nick Hall. He's the featured evangelist at Sunday's show, and NewSong is the host band, as always. The other musical acts include Skillet, Sanctus Real and Building 429.

BARRY: You and I have been doing this a long time, and we'd be hard-pressed to find anything in live music over the years that has been as successful or as consistently cool as Winter Jam. Did you see what I did there?

LISA: Yes, but I'm giving you the cold shoulder.

BARRY: The show draws a huge crowd, the price is right, and the artists who have played it over the years are the cream of the crop.

LISA: You know what else has been around awhile? The Cleveland Storytelling Guild's Ocoee Story Fest is 17 years old. This year's festival, scheduled Friday night at the Museum Center at Five Points, will feature Elizabeth Rose as the teller. Her performances combine family stories and folklore.

I could tell a few stories too, but since mine are based on personal experience, it might be better to keep them to myself.

BARRY: I've heard some of your stories and needed a Silkwood shower after one or two.

Don't forget also that They Might Be Giants will be at Track 29 on Sunday. I'll be singing "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" all day long.

LISA: Let's duet. I'll tune up my accordion.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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