Sanctus Real joins Skillet, Peter Furler, Building 429, Kari Jobe and more on Winter Jam, Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Schottenstein Center. Tickets are $10 at the door. Visit www.schottensteincenter.com.
Sanctus Real singer Matt Hammitt told The Beat that being on the Winter Jam tour - which features six main stage music acts, an illusionist, a speaker and three other pre-event party bands - is like being on tour with a big family. This also could be because his band is on tour with their families. "I'm seeing wives and kids running around the bus as I look around right now," Hammitt told The Beat. Formed in 1996 by Hammitt and guitarist Chris Rohman while they were high school students in Toledo, the band released three independent records before signing with Christian label Sparrow in 2001. Sanctus Real has five records of new material and a "hits" collection for Sparrow - hits including Whatever You're Doing, Forgiven and Lead Me - garnering Dove and Grammy awards and nominations along the way. The band's members have also grown up along the way (witness the "wives and kids"), but Hammitt said the balancing act is worth the effort. "Trying to have a family life and being on the road is something you have to work at to figure it all out," he said. "But it's worth it. This is our calling, to share the gospel through song." Hammitt said the band's success hasn't gone to their heads, either. In fact, it's had the opposite effect. "It's weird, I guess, but we've always had the opposite problem," he explained. "Whatever success we've had has really fed our insecurities. "It's always been us trying to get better at what we do and to be stronger men of God and better band members." Those insecurities are at the heart of Sanctus Real's most popular songs. "Forgiven is about dwelling on those insecurities, letting God use our weaknesses," Hammitt said. The band's most recent hit song, Lead Me, finds Hammitt in full-on grown-up mode, asking for direction as a husband and father. "It was the cry of my heart but it met people, both men and women, where they were at," he said. "I think the best for me is hearing the stories of people who found something personal in the song for them."