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We the Kingdom blurs the lines between 'Church Music' and rock 'n' roll in Bloomington-Normal debut

Four men standing in a red-lit studio, dressed in stylish outfits including hats and jackets, with a focus on fashionable shared western attire.
Round Table Management
We the Kingdom makes its Bloomington-Normal debut on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown Bloomington.

Contemporary Christian band We the Kingdom makes their Twin Cities debut this weekend, bringing their unique brand of “rock 'n' rock for the soul” to Grossinger Motors Arena as part of the Church Music Tour with Tremont native Katy Nichole.

We the Kingdom’s stellar line-up of musicians includes three men named Cash: brothers Ed and Scott, plus Ed's son, Martin. Kansas City native Andrew Bergthold is the outlier, but the idea for We the Kingdom came to him long before he met anyone with the last name Cash.

Around the time he went to college, Bergthold prayed for a sign.

“At that age, you’re really passionate about, ‘What’s my future? I’m going to follow the Lord,’” Bergthold said. “He laid the name We the Kingdom on my heart and I got really excited about it.”

Bergthold secured social media handles and taught a friend how to play guitar.

“I was that ready to go,” he said. “And it just fell flat on its face.”

Bergthold’s arrival in Nashville was even bumpier; he crashed a motorcycle into barbed wire days before showing up for an internship at Ed Cash’s studio.

“He straight up had duct tape and superglue in his arm,” said Scott Cash.

“You gotta hold yourself together somehow,” Bergthold said. “I was like, ‘Here I am, Nashville, ready to go!’”

It would be seven more years until Scott Cash recruited his brother Ed, niece Franni Rae, nephew Martin and Bergthold to attend Young Life Camp in Georgia — the spark that started We the Kingdom in earnest.

“There was no plan,” Scott Cash said. “We just went and played a bunch of cover worship songs.”

They wrote their first single, Dancing on the Waves, at Young Life Camp, and in just a few years We the Kingdom garnered a couple Grammy nominations, three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and a stadium-filling tour life beyond their wildest imagination.

“It’s just a joy beyond words,” Ed Cash said. “It’s been an incredible journey.”

Decorated producer, songwriter and engineer Ed Cash took a step back from performing nearly three decades ago to focus on raising a family.

“I thought that dream of singing and being an artist was long, long gone,” he said. “It’s just amazing how the Lord works. Knowing what the road takes now — where I was emotionally, spiritually— that would have destroyed me.”

Drummer Martin Cash is at a similar crossroads. After a year of dating, he and Sarah Tucker married in 2021.

“I think what keeps each of us individually rooted is our passion for ministry and music,” he said. “It 100% comes with its difficulties in home life. Each one of us is in a different scenario.”

Worth the sacrifice

For Martin Cash and Tucker, life on the road is all they’ve ever known as a couple. For his uncle, it’s a whole new scenario. Scott Cash finds it particularly difficult to leave his five daughters and wife behind when the band goes on tour.

“If this is not for Jesus, it is too hard,” he said. “Yesterday morning I’m getting [ready] to get on a flight and my twin daughters are following me down our steps crying because I’m leaving again.”

But in a sense, maintaining faith through struggle is what We the Kingdom is all about. The band doesn’t shy away from the messiness of life in their songwriting, or even in how they keep healthy relationships with one another.

“It is a super fun life, but it’s not as glamorous as it may appear to the average consumer who sees the lights, and the confetti,” Martin Cash said.

Three musicians on stage in cowboy hats raise their arms to an enthusiastic crowd under spotlights, capturing a celebratory moment at a concert, ready to be shared in a Dropbox file.
Round Table Management
In just six years, We the Kingdom has raked in a couple Grammy nominations and several GMA Dove Awards. While the CCM band is committed to writing songs with a faith-based message, Ed Cash said they pride themselves on the music standing up against mainstream genres.

“We are trying to show people the greatest news on Earth and to show people the one path to both living a full life on Earth, then living in eternity in glory,” Scott Cash said. “If that’s not it, it’s just not worth it.”

It’s hard work, but not without fun. The band lets off steam before shows with pickleball matches in the parking lot and tries to keep the bigger picture in mind.

“One of our friends told Ed a long time ago, if they find out how much fun we’re having they’re gonna arrest us all,” Scott Cash said. “It’s so exciting and we love it, but it is such a huge cost.”

A new era

Lead singer Franni Rae Cash Cain is notably absent from this tour, after announcing an indefinite hiatus in late 2023. The change necessitated a slight shift in their sound — the latest gospel-forward single, Church Music, features lead vocals by Ed Cash with additional vocals from Jamiah Hudson, Andriana Seay and Sheldon Thomas. Luke Sullivant joins the tour on bass. Hudson steps in on songs from the catalog requiring a female lead.

“It’s actually been a beautiful transition,” Bergthold said. “We’ve been continuing to write a lot of new songs and we’re so pumped about that.”

One Day and Let Be Jesus are two songs on the set list for the live show which haven’t been released yet.

“I feel like songs have a way to transcend changes or seasons that go on,” said Bergthold. “I’m really thankful for the songs God has been giving us in this season.”

We the Kingdom’s Church Music Tour performs at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Grossinger Motors Arena, 101 S. Madison Street, Bloomington. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25-$48 at grossingermotorsarena.com.

Lauren Warnecke is a reporter at WGLT. You can reach Lauren at lewarne@ilstu.edu.