“Music is a powerful tool that can touch people for Jesus in a wide and wonderful spectrum,” says Matthew Reith, a member of the beloved bluegrass band, Southern Raised. Their music is certainly that — a wide and wonderful spectrum — with a sound that cannot be rivaled, a desire to minister that cannot be diminished, and talents that are unmatched. Their own unique sound makes their music so special that it has the power to touch hearts, both young and old. Not only is their music unique, which is described as “Christian/country/- Americana” according to Matthew, but each member of this southern, sibling group is unique in their abilities and interests. Still, they never cease to hold to their common desire to share their music with the world because of their love for the Lord. Matthew Reith, the guitar player, bass singer, and youngest member of this gospel group, is a perfect exemplification of their unique interests, with his time spent in photography and on his ranch, and their unwavering devotion to God. Ironically, this group first started out while sitting on their front porch, but they now visit all sorts of settings and stadiums. No matter the location, this group will deliver a powerful performance that glorifies the Lord. I had the privilege of interviewing Matthew Reith and finding out a little more about him, his siblings, and the power behind their performance.
SC: When did you first start traveling as a group?
MR: We started our band 12 years ago this June.
SC: What made you want to start a band? How did you get started as a group?
MR: So we live in the Branson, MO area which is saturated with this style of music. Growing up we were trained in classical music, and when we heard this genre, we fell in love with it and thought we’d get some instruments and just play on our front porch. At the same time, my grandma’s church was having an event and asked us to play at their event, and from there on out it was just word of mouth.
SC: When did you first start playing guitar?
MR: I started guitar at the same time we started our band, so basically 12 years now.
SC: Explain what makes you stand apart from other gospel groups.
MR: Probably the biggest thing would be our instruments.
SC: Do you have a career outside of music now?
MR: I currently own a photography/videography business.
SC: How have you seen God at work in your ministry?
MR: Music is a powerful tool that can touch people, for Jesus, in a wide and wonderful spectrum. Seeing people that come up and say how different songs have touched their lives is one of the biggest ways I see God’s handiwork in our ministry
SC: What is your funniest/most embarrassing moment on stage?
MR: So, a few years back we got stuck in a huge traffic accident and didn’t get to our date, which started at 7:00, until 7:02. So, there we were, frantically setting up our sound in front of a 500- seat packed church watching us work. The stage was pretty high with stairs running across the whole length of the platform. On a side note, at the time we were using 50-lb. speakers, so I grabbed one and started the trek up the stairs to the stage. Upon reaching the second stair from the top, I lost my footing and rolled with the speaker in hand to the front row of older ladies which were gasping in horror.
SC: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
MR: I love hiking, fishing and pretty much anything outdoors
SC: Looking back on your own life, what is one piece of advice you have for the “next generation.”
MR: I heard a quote the other day that basically pointed out that we as humans tend to wait on the “big” moments in our lives to make us happy, and on our way there we miss the small ones that life is really made of.
SC: What other musical groups do you enjoy listening to?
MR: I love a wide range of music from Scotty McCreery to the Celtic Women to Balsam Range
SC: What is playing in your CD player right now?
MR: Well honestly my truck’s CD players is broken, but if I did have one, it would probably be a Josh Turner CD.
SC: What is your favorite song to sing/play?
MR: We do a version of Beethoven’s 9th right now that’s pretty fun.
SC: Tell us something unique not many people know about you.
MR: I took martial arts for several years
SC: Describe yourself in three words.
MR: Kind, funny, adventurous.
SC: What is your favorite place to travel to and perform?
MR: We did a cruise to the Bahamas which has fun.
SC: What are three things you could never live without?
MR: Books, music, and travel.
SC: What is your favorite thing about traveling and sharing your music? What is the hardest/most difficult?
MR: Being on the road all the time away from family and friends would be the hardest thing about it, but touching people’s lives through music and traveling to new places is an incredible experience.
SC: If you could bring about one change within the southern gospel music industry, what would it be?
MR: There are so many incredible people propelling gospel music to the world that I’m just excited to get to be a part of it.