On Oct. 2, the Christian band CAIN performed in a lively concert at the Oklahoma Stage as part of the Tulsa State Fair.
The patron seating around the Oklahoma Stage was about three-quarters full. A large part of the audience consisted of families, many with younger children who seemed to enjoy the music too.
Various instruments were onstage plus a screen in the shape of a mountain silhouette and a background screen with the band’s logo on it. Throughout the concert, the screens showed lyrics and graphics associated with the song performances.
The speakers played some popular pump-up music (“Sweet Caroline,” “Don’t Stop Believin,’”, etc.) beforehand. Around the start time of the concert, several of the accompanying musicians ran onstage and settled in with their instruments.
Next, the three band members entered the stage. CAIN is a family band consisting of three siblings: two sisters, Madison Cain Johnson on bass guitar and Taylor Cain Matz on keyboard and guitar, and their brother, Logan Cain, lead singer and occasional guitar player. The accompanying background musicians were Jacob Trunzo (organ and guitar player), Zach Howell (bass guitarist), and Aaron Raney (drummer and pianist).
For the next song, “I’m So Blessed,” the band members got the audience involved with singing the chorus of “On my best day, I’m a child of God” and “On my worst day, I’m a child of God!” They really wanted to drive home the message that God loves us all the time, no matter what.
When that song was over, the siblings asked the audience to follow along as they played the “One hop this time!” section from the “Cha Cha Slide.” Of course the audience danced along with them. Then Logan joked, “This is a Christian concert, you shouldn’t even know that song!”
Though of course there is nothing wrong with the “Cha Cha Slide,” Logan played off the fact that often Christians make a strong distinction between contemporary Christian music (like CAIN plays) and more popular ‘secular’ music. Some Christians only listen to Christian music, while others will abide secular songs so long as they are free of references to sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. All in all, opinions on the morality of music vary between Christian denominations and, of course, among individual people. (This reporter grew up on a mix of contemporary Christian music, modern popular music, and the good ’ole oldies of her parents’ generation.)
After that good bit of Christian humor, CAIN launched into a new song, “Wings,” which is based on Isaiah 40:31. The verse reads “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and no be faint” (NIV). It had a catchy chorus of “Oh woah oh”, and the message that faith in God and hope in eternal life make it possible to deal with your problems and ‘soar’ above them. A very exciting moment was when Logan tossed his guitar up in the air – and caught it, thankfully.
The next song was a slow, touching ballad called “The Commission.” It featured Taylor on acoustic guitar.
Then the band played “Friend in Jesus,” a song that shares the friendship-like love of God and emphasizes the basics of a relationship with Him – talking (prayer) and walking (faith and trust) with Him.
After that, Logan, Taylor, and Madison addressed several misconceptions about them. First off, it is easy to wonder why a Christian band would pick the name Cain. In the Bible, Cain was one of the sons of Adam and Eve, and he is known for murdering his brother Abel.
But the reason Logan, Taylor, and Madison chose to call their band CAIN is because it is their last name. Not because they want to associate themselves with a not-so-great character in the Bible.
This leads to the second misconception they addressed: the reason they have the same last name. Logan said no, it is not because they are married to each other, even though they are from Alabama. It is because they are siblings. They’re the Cain siblings, and said they thought it would be cool and chic to call their band CAIN.
And finally, even though they often wear the same color (they all had on various shades of green at this concert), they wanted to stress that it is not because they are a cult. They just thought it would be cute to wear the same color, so they can express their own styles and still have a cohesive look without wearing the exact same clothes. (This also makes sense from a branding standpoint, and along with Logan’s quirky mustache and Taylor’s almost ever-present hat, makes it easy to recognize them as a group.)
Then the siblings delved even deeper into their background with a performance titled “Storytime: The Soundtrack of Our Lives.” It told their story of growing up, with snippets of important songs along the way. The story highlighted the fact that the Cain siblings were homeschoolers who later attended public high school. They began first playing in a band – the worship band at the church where their dad was pastor, that is. In college, they had their first paid “gig” – playing music at a local sandwich shop called Mama Goldberg’s Deli. They got a little better, and eventually moved to Nashville, where they made a living singing covers of country songs – like Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” – in smoky bars.
But eventually they quit performing in those venues. After five years of traveling and playing on the weekends, the Cain siblings had been out of church for a long time. So, they found a church in Nashville, and even though they did not tell people that they were musicians, they were asked to join the church worship band. After a wonderful experience with that, where they really felt the Holy Spirit moving, they decided that they only wanted to play music that glorified God.
But, as they said, “Sometimes clarity brings a whole new question.” After writing country music for five years, they wondered if they could even write a Christian song. But through prayer and hard work, they did.
That story led into CAIN’s next song, “Jesus Music,” which had a catchy beat and incorporated titles of well-known Christian songs like “10,000 Reasons,” “I Can Only Imagine,” and “Lead Me to the Cross” to make some ‘punny’ references.
Then the band played a cover of the DC Talk song “Jesus Is Just Alright.” DC Talk was a Christian rap and rock group in the 90s. One of the members, TobyMac, went on to have a successful solo career that continues to this day.
The next song, “Over My Head,” had the great message that if the water in your life is getting deep and you are floating out of your comfort zone, it may be time to take a leap of faith. It draws on the story in the New Testament where Jesus is walking on the water and Peter, one of his disciples, says, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus does, and Peter steps out of the boat and begins to walk on the water toward him. But then Peter gets scared and starts to sink into the water. So, he calls out to Jesus, who rescues him. Often dealing with problems in our lives can seem impossible, like walking on water. But through trust in God, we can find the strength to do hard things. After all, as the song says, “Going down isn’t going under.”
Following “Over My Head,” the band played “Any More.” This song had a similar message to “I’m So Blessed,” namely, that God loves you a lot. In fact, He “couldn’t love you any more than [He does] right now.”
Logan shared his wife Emily’s testimony. After struggling with alcoholism from a fairly young age, she encountered God’s love while driving down the highway one day and was able to turn her life around and started heading in a new direction. The song “Windows Down” is based on her story.
The concert closed with “Rise Up (Lazarus),” which is arguably CAIN’s most well-known song. This song was a reminder to all of the concertgoers to leave changed, not just by the concert, but by God’s grace, and to go do good in the world in His name and with His help.
For future tour dates and more information, visit CAIN’s website.
To find out more information about the Tulsa State Fair or purchase tickets for next year, go to tulsastatefair.com.