Headliner - Micah Tyler
It’s hard to imagine how many times Micah Tyler spent his days wondering ‘what’s next,’ while driving a sausage delivery truck across southeast Texas. Surely he was questioning his own discernment to quit his youth pastor gig, sell half of what he owned to move his family into a single-wide trailer, and start traveling the region performing songs he’d written.
Not an easy move for a guy in his late 20s living in somewhat-reclusive Buna, Texas with a wife, three kids, and no strong connection to the music industry at the time. “I just knew I had to be obedient and step out into music full time,” Micah recalls. “I told the Lord, ‘I don’t know how to be a professional musician, but you’ve taught me to be faithful.’ It was a daily decision to wake up every morning and stop worrying about tomorrow.”
Fast-forward down that long road and the same guy behind the delivery truck wheel now has a record deal on the same label as MercyMe, Newsboys, & Skillet as well as multiple Dove Award & KLOVE Award nominations, two BMI Top 25 Christian Songs, an appearance in a major motion picture movie, and five #1 songs.
A big part of Micah’s journey has included traveling 200 days per year, ranging from performances at youth and college aged camps to conferences to touring with other artists. His impact and understanding of his younger audiences was immortalized on a viral parody video titled “Millennials,” which has over 65 million cumulative views on YouTube and Facebook. He has toured with big name artists such as MercyMe, David Crowder, Jeremy Camp, Phil Wickham, and Big Daddy Weave.
Hundreds of nights on the road have certainly honed Micah’s purpose for ministry through a growing list of self-penned tunes borne from a place that’s as real as the person he’s trying to be. “These songs are battle-tested,” says Micah. “I want to live the music I’m writing. There are some songs I can’t write because I haven’t lived there yet. When someone comes up to me after a concert and tells me how my songs affected them, I want to make sure they know I can relate.”
Different seems appropriate for Micah since life looks a lot different than it did ten years ago. But the passion and drive of that original step he took to serve the Lord remains very much the same and we hope that never changes.
Headliner - CAIN
Spend five minutes with the members of CAIN and you’ll feel like you’ve spent the afternoon in the sunshine. The band’s effervescent joy spills over onto each person they meet, their bright smiles as contagious as their chill-inducing harmonies. Pouring their perpetual joy into their debut album, 2021’s Rise Up, CAIN - made up of siblings Madison Cain Johnson, Taylor Cain Matz, and Logan Cain - has discovered what it’s like to live their calling while doing their favorite thing, singing about Jesus. Making it to their Rise Up debut didn’t come easily or quickly. Raised in Alabama the kids of pastors, CAIN developed a love for music from an early age. By elementary school, they were integrated into the church service, playing and singing side-by-side, but never pursued music in a serious way. When a college friend alerted them to a contest hosted by Dave Barnes, the prize an opening slot at the Workplay Theater in Birmingham, they quickly worked up a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and shot a video. Over an eight-week period, the trio kept advancing to the next round, entering more cover songs and videos, until they finally won. “We found out we had to do original songs for the show,“ Taylor says with a laugh. “We didn’t have a band name, didn’t have any merch, didn’t know how to write a song. We were totally unprepared.” Their grandfather, who worked in country music publishing, saw their performance and offered to help them make some connections in the industry. They’d grown up fans of both Christian and country music and jumped at the chance. For five years, they worked hard in the country music scene, learning the art of songwriting and how to live on the road. They had some hints of success, a song made it onto Sirius XM’s The Highway and they got the opportunity to play a CMA stage, but nothing concrete clicked into place. After some game-changing setbacks, CAIN decided to take a break from pursuing music, a decision that held more emotion than just a break from music. The trio grew up extremely close and the idea of being separated was more worrisome than giving up music. “I’d heard of people who operated that way,” Logan shares, “siblings living far apart. But the three of us shared a room until we were old enough to not. We shared an apartment in college. We’d never been apart.” CAIN stayed in Nashville and plugged into their local church, joining the worship team, content for that to be their sole outlet for music. “We were settled for the first time in a long time,” Taylor says. “We were at peace.” When a man in their church, their now manager Ron Smith, approached them about possibly pursuing Christian music, it felt like an overwhelming possibility. “CCM was all I knew growing up,” Logan says. “I was raised on Third Day and Steven Curtis Chapman. But when the opportunity came up, we were afraid to start over. We’d done so much already.” CAIN decided to follow through and holed up at Madison’s house to try and write a Christian song. Right away, it opened their eyes to what could be. “I used to think writing Christian music would be limiting because you could only write about certain things,” Madison says. “But really, it cracked us right open. Writing country music had limited us to what we could write about, but now we had our whole lives to draw from.” The band wrote three new songs and, with Ron’s help, booked a couple of meetings in town. Provident Label Group loved what they heard and offered CAIN a record deal. After signing, CAIN kept working on their craft and by the next meeting had written “Rise Up (Lazarus),” “Yes He Can” and “The Commission,” three songs that became the backbone of their debut album, Rise Up. “We don’t regret what happened with country music.” Logan shares. “Every experience we went through snowballed to where we are now. It’s all connected.” “We feel right at home in CCM,” Madison says, “like being at church camp with your best friends. We love our record label. This joy you see is real.” “That can go on the record,” Taylor says. “We love our label.” After signing with Provident, the band was able to pour their heart and soul into making the kind of music they’d always wanted to make. CAIN’s signature harmony-based, country-laced melodies are energetic joy-bombs. Even on ballads like “The Commission,” a song the band calls a country song about Jesus and whose video made its world premiere with Fathom Events’ “The Chosen” Christmas movie, CAIN’s current ecstatic love for Jesus bleeds through. Rise Up is a loud shout of thankfulness, a banner-waving hope, a windows-down blast of fresh air. The songs aren’t forced platitudes or formulaic Christianese but genuine, from-the-heart happiness lived by the band. When asked where all that joy comes from, all three siblings light up like sunbeams. “We’re not using happiness as wallpaper to cover the hole in the wall,” Logan says. “We’re saying if you’re not happy now, there’s happiness on the way.” “Rise Up (Lazarus),” the band’s first single, went No.1 at Christian radio for multiple weeks and also won the 2021 K-LOVE Fan Award for “Breakout Single of the Year” for good reason. Its country-leaning, worship-fueled, family-magic-harmonies have the listener singing along halfway through the first chorus. “There’s a freedom that’s been made available to us,” Logan shares, “but we have to choose to walk in it. The voice of Jesus calls us like Lazarus from the grave.” The response to the song has been, according to the band, the most fulfilling thing they’ve experienced since doing music full-time. “People taking ownership of this song, hearing stories of true miracles, it’s my favorite thing about music and my life to this point,” he says. Their second single also hit No. 1 for numerous weeks, “Yes He Can,” a smile in a pop song and might be the truest to who CAIN is, both as a band and individuals. It’s a full-flung belief in a God who’s done it and can do it again, a yes to everything the band has been through and everything they hope to accomplish. The music video, conceptualized and styled by the band, is the song brought to life, cheering on people in everyday situations who need encouragement to take the next step. It’s perhaps the overarching theme for CAIN - bright belief in a God who can do anything for you, who wants to do it, who has done it. “Mountains come in all types of sizes,” Logan says. “God still cares about your mountain no matter how big or small it is.” For Madison, Taylor, and Logan, finding deep-down joy has transformed their life, covering them in a constant blessing. Even launching their career during the pandemic couldn’t dampen their spirits, as told in their song “I’m So Blessed.” “We had eighty shows canceled in 2020,” Madison says, “and it became kind of sarcastic – I’m so blessed. But for us, we say it in faith. You don’t have to be having the best day of your life to be blessed.” Fast forward to the end of their 2021 with more than 100 million music streams and being named by Billboard, BDS, and Mediabase as the Most Played Artist on Christian radio. Also, add American Music Award (Favorite Inspirational Artist) and GMA Dove Award (Best New Artist) nominations along with their K-LOVE Fan Award win. And with the release of their first-ever Christmas EP Wonderful, which offers duets with industry legends Steven Curtis Chapman and Mac Powell, the project also made American Songwriter’s “not to miss” top 15 holiday albums for the season. With touring back in full swing, CAIN has been loving the numerous opportunities to share their songs live. Sharing the stage with the likes of Zach Williams, We The Kingdom, and Casting Crowns, they’ll join TobyMac’s 2022 Hits Deep Tour followed by a spring run with Matthew West. Hitting the festival season next summer, they’ll close their 2022 with Casting Crowns and Anne Wilson on a nationwide tour. Hearing their songs live, in the car or at home, listeners will be blessed by the songs of CAIN - music made of hard-won hope that radiates the kind of eternal happiness only found in the goodness of God.
Based in the great Midwest State of Indiana, Redeemed Quartet has carried their music locally, nationally, and internationally. Raised on traditional Gospel music and Biblical values, the 4 best friends (who are actually 2 sets of brothers) began their work in the hills of Southern Indiana as teenagers. From their start in 2014, their mission has been to be a light in the darkness and lift the weary traveler, while showcasing 4-part harmony and life-changing lyrics. Internet recognition grew in 2015 after posting a simple video of their performance of the classic “Just A Little Talk With Jesus”. Within a matter of months, the budding quartet found a quickly growing amount of online listeners and avid fans. As numbers rose, requests began pouring in from all over the US. The guys traveled extensively for several years; their routes reaching as far west as a remote Alaskan village on the Bering Sea, and north into Canada. The majority of their bookings were located in the mid Southeast of the country.
Presently, the group travels locally on a leisurely schedule, and has ramped up on video & studio productions. Their album lineup includes: My Best Friend (2017), Final Invitation (2018), & Timeless Classics (2021). The 2023 premiere of Those Were The Days did not disappoint: a 12-track production, complete with RQ originals and custom renditions of Country & Southern Gospel numbers.
…And the song lives on!
Christ First Quartet