Two weeks ago, we published a report on Youth Explosion 2012, a free concert set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Trigg County High School gymnasium.
In that report, it was revealed that Trigg County native Bill Fort will return home as the Evangelistic speaker at the event. Mike Wright has also written about Bro. Fort in his Coach’s Corner column recently.
But Bro. Fort isn’t the only home-grown portion of the event, which will also feature Christian rock band Building 429 and Christian hip hop/rock band Rapture Ruckus.
Jeremy Butts, another Trigg native and 2010 TCHS grad, will also perform. He said it’ll be a chance for him to display his musical abilities to those in the community who either didn’t know he had them or simply haven’t had the chance to hear him play and sing yet.
“It’s exciting,” said Jeremy, who is currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Kentucky. “Ultimately, I just want to share what God has shown me. I think some people will be surprised. I don’t think very many of my former classmates or friends have had a chance to hear me. Hopefully, they’ll get something out of it.”
Jeremy’s mother Sharon has served as an organist and pianist at Cerulean Baptist Church, and Jeremy said her musical abilities – coupled with his discovery of his father Stevie’s old electric guitar – are part of what got him started on his current path.
“Mom inspired me to try piano lessons when I was in fifth or sixth grade, which is how it really started,” Jeremy said. “Through the years, I got better at it and liked it more. Then one year, I found a guitar in my grandparents’ attic – dad’s old electric guitar – and I started teaching myself.”
Like many kids do, Jeremy and a few of his friends toyed with the idea of forming a band.
“That’s the first time I considered becoming serious with music,” Jeremy said. “We weren’t going to be a serious band or anything, but we loved playing. One thing led to another, and a couple years later, the school started having a praise band and I ended up joining them.”
The first original song Jeremy wrote was for that band, and he said from there, he felt led to share what he’d learned while growing up in church and teach others through song. Jeremy entered the Christian-based Immerse Song Competition for writers in Nashville and has had songs advance to the semifinal round twice. He’s also been performing in Nashville for the last four years.
“Each year, I feel like I’ve gotten stronger in songwriting,” Butts said. “I’m focusing more on what I want to tell people. I feel like God has been using me.”
Jeremy said he’s thankful to his family and church for supporting his efforts, which he said he’s treating as a mission. He’ll have copies of his album available at the event, which is something he said he wishes had been organized while he was growing up here.
“It feels like a lot of churches nearby have to go off to camps to get this experience of a youth Christian gathering,” Jeremy said. “Having this right in our town, I feel, is a great thing for the community and those around us. I think our youth will draw closer to God through it, and not just youth. All ages will get something from it.”
Having watched Jeremy grow up in church and perform there, I can vouch for that.
Justin McGill is the general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.