Winter Jam headliner We the Kingdom found its voice at a camp in Georgia

Credit: CONTRI

Credit: CONTRI

The family band will be at Gas South Arena Feb. 4.

The most famous family musical acts usually involve siblings, like the Jackson 5, the Osmonds, the Carpenters, the Bee Gees and the Allman Brothers.

Those covering multiple generations are less common. The Judds and The Cowsills had their moments in the sun. The Partridge Family was artificially created for a TV show.

Now welcome We the Kingdom, a relatively new Christian band from Tennessee that is one of the major headliners at the annual Winter Jam at Gas South Arena this Saturday, Feb. 4, along with Jeremy Camp. The band consists of four family members: Franni Rae Cash, her father Ed, her brothers Scott and Martin and a good friend Andrew Bergthold.

“Winter Jam is a huge deal, one of the biggest tours in our industry,” said Franni Rae Cash in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I am just blown away that we get to be part of it.”

She said the show “is going to have intimate moments and wild moments. Life is lived out in moments. We want them to feel the full spectrum of human emotion. Peace. Joy. Sadness. We want people to come to the foot of the cross with us.”

Franni, now 24, said We the Kingdom as a band rose from the embers of a traumatic experience her family had with a particular church that forced them to leave while she was in high school.

“It was a very toxic church experience,” she said. “It wrecked me. It was the foundation of my childhood and I was really shaken for awhile. I was very broken. For a time, I didn’t want to have anything to do with music.”

She went on a Christian youth mission in Nepal to heal and it worked. It’s where she was able to help find her voice through song again.

Then in 2017, she and her family attended a Young Life camp in Jasper. “So many of my family members have met the Lord through Young Life,” she said. “My husband met Jesus there. It’s a great camp, a very powerful place.”

One night, she and her siblings and dad gathered at a hot tub and spontaneously decided to write a song. “Dancing on the Waves” flowed out of them, inspired by kids they met from Miami.

They decided to become a band. But her father, Ed, who had been in the music business, had to fight hard to get them an album deal. “When executives hear it’s a family band, they immediately think it’s going to be hokey,” Franni said. “They expect a certain sound. But when they are gracious enough to give us a chance, they realize we bring something special.”

Since the band’s debut in 2019, We the Kingdom has generated multiple top 10 hits on the Christian charts including two No. 1 hits “Holy Water” and “God So Loved” and “Child of Love.” They have garnered two Grammy nominations and three Dove Award wins.

Their sound melds different pop and singer-songwriter influences from both the secular and Christian worlds. They even do specific dives into artists to learn from them.

“We recently researched the Indigo Girls,” Franni said. “We listen to their songs and analyze their lyrics. We are coming at it from different generations. We’ll do this on the bus. We’ll pick apart Bono or Chris Martin. It’s like music nerd class! We all just love music.”

The band name, she noted, represents the group’s origins and modus operandi. “We want to bring people together,” she said. “We were suffering and God brought us back together and healed our hearts through the gift of music.”

Franni said she lost her best friend following the toxic church split up, but the We the Kingdom hit “Miracle Power” from its second album inspired her friend to reach back out to her seven years later. They have since reconciled.

“It’s just so encouraging and personal that our music reached my friend,” she said. “I’m so grateful.”

The dynamics of being in a family business, which is essentially what a band is, can be straining, she admitted. They spend 140 days a year away from their homes outside Nashville on tour. And now that she’s married, she said she has to balance those power dynamics while conveying her own level of independence from her father.

“I spend a lot of time with my dad because of We the Kingdom,” she said. “Thankfully, my husband really believes in what we’re doing. And my dad is super respectful. Our private life is our private life which is really healthy. We try hard to keep proper emotional boundaries.”


IF YOU GO

Winter Jam featuring Jeremy Camp, We the Kingdom, Andy Mineo

6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4. $15 requested donation at door, early entry access with a $59.99 Jam Nation membership. Gas South Arena, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. jamtour.com

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