Canton Junction refers to the crossroads of different subjects or regions into one gathering point. In June 2011, four individuals came together to form what is now one of America’s top Southern Gospel quartets named Canton Junction. While they love to raise their voices in song, their greatest desire is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Casey Rivers, Matthew Hagee and Tim Duncan along with Ryan Seaton (on recording “A Canton Junction Christmas” 2016) their talents and passion together and wrap them in a present for all Junction fans in their latest release, A Canton Junction Christmas.
Canton Junction members come from a rich heritage of Southern Gospel Music. Rivers first learned of this God-given music from his parents, who would sing the time-tested songs of a little-known songwriter. He lightheartedly adds, “We learned of many of the songs through a guy named Bill Gaither. He’s going to make it one day!”
Hagee has literally grown up in the ministry. A sixth-generation minister, Matthew is the son of John Hagee, founding pastor of Cornerstone Church. Gospel Music has been a significant influence on his life since he was a child.
Duncan has loved quartet music since a very early age. He says, “My dad would buy records and I fell in love with the four-part harmony with the tenor going high and the bass going low.”
Rivers, lead singer for Canton Junction, resides in Lindale, Texas, with his wife, Doni, and their four children. “My wife and I just celebrated 10 years of marriage,” he says. “We celebrate four healthy and beautiful kids every day. I’m able to balance [my time between family and ministry] because we build on God’s firm foundation. Plus, I have an incredible wife. We are a great team.”
Before joining Canton Junction, Rivers appeared on stage with musical legends such as Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn, Neal McCoy, Sara Evans, the Gatlin Brothers, and others. He also performed on the Grand Ole Opry Stage and was runner up on season four of the singing competition television series titled, Nashville Star. While music is truly a part of his life, his greatest passion is sharing the love of Jesus Christ through song.
“I’ve been around music all my life and I credit my love for it to my parents,” says Casey. “They sang in a Gospel group when I was a little guy and I knew at a young age this is what I wanted to do. Now I get to do it for a living and for God’s glory.”
A self-proclaimed quartet man, Duncan sings bass for Canton Junction. Having received the Singing News Fan Award for Best Bass Singer, he was one of the original four members of the popular group, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. Even so, he has not let his many accomplishments, including Dove Awards and Grammy nominations, cloud his view. His primary goal is to minister to others through song.
Duncan enjoys spending time with his family when he is not on the road traveling with the group. He shares, “I’ve been married 25 years and have two sons: Breck (23) and Brandon (22). I have a wonderful family and would be lost in this world without the love of my wife, Melissa.”
Hailing from the great state of Texas, Hagee sings tenor for Canton Junction. He is blessed to come from a family legacy of ministry. In addition to being a speaker, vocalist, and published author of two books, Shaken, Not Shattered and Response-Able, he is also a graduate of Oral Roberts University School of Business. When he is not on the stage, he enjoys working with cattle and horses, the heartbeat of a true Texan.
While ministry is the focus of his life, his role as a father has also captured a piece of his heart. He says the most incredible experience he has ever had was becoming a father. “There isn’t a thing in the world that replaces the joy of seeing your children being born,” says Hagee.
Canton Junction is proud to present their latest project titled, A Canton Christmas. Filled with songs that highlight the true meaning of Christmas, this album is the perfect way to light up your holiday season. Rivers even says that there is not a song on this project that he does not look forward to sharing.
Hagee discusses his favorite song on the project: “Personally, I really enjoy what we captured with ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth.’ It is for absolutely selfish reasons that I say that because my children and my father are singing with me. I cannot tell you how special that moment was and will be for a long time.”
“We Three Kings” is Duncan’s favorite song on the project. He says the arrangement is the best he has heard in a long time. Plus, it is one of his favorite Christmas songs.
Another favorite that is being well-received even with mainstream country radio is “A Big Ole Texas Christmas.” Hagee adds that it is, “one of those songs that just seem to set the mood for joy and cheer.” Duncan adds, “It’s such a fun Christmas song. The lyrics mention locations that are well-known in Texas, but they are also city names from across the country.”
In addition to the ways people can relate to the lyrics of the song, Rivers believes it connects with a wide audience because it is fresh. “If a listener hears a song such as ‘A Big Ole Texas Christmas’ on Country radio and they like what they hear then a door has been opened,” says Rivers. “That particular song may not mention Jesus, but it unlocks a project full of equally well-crafted songs drenched with the message and celebration of Jesus’ birth!”
Ten years from now, Canton Junction hopes to continue sharing musical moments with others. With vocalists like Duncan helping hold down the fort, they will definitely continue to carry on their musical journey. Tim’s favorite part of traveling is meeting and talking with long-time friends. He says, “All of us in Canton [Junction] are so thankful for our wonderful loyal fans and supporters. And being able to help a lot of hurting people through the Gospel expressed in the music we sing is a privilege we do not take for granted.”
Helping hurting people is a special calling of Canton Junction. Hagee gives the following advice for someone who needs encouragement today: “Don’t give up. There are a lot of days when quitting looks good. But the Bible says to press on regardless how difficult it is. Be willing to take the next step of faith.”
Rivers adds, “God is not set back or surprised at whatever we are facing. God is for us. If God is for us, then who can be against us? No one or nothing. His plans are good and not for our harm. His plans involve hope and a future beyond our current circumstance!” (See Jeremiah 29:11).
The members of this popular group put their trust in God alone. They have come together to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through song. The ministry of Canton Junction has one primary goal, and that is to lead people to the saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. This Christmas, make it memorable season by putting your trust in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us all come together as we keep our eyes on Jesus, making this a Canton Junction Christmas!
Connect with Canton Junction online at http://www.differencemedia.org/artists/canton-junction
Photo Credits: Canton Junction/Difference Media, Craig Harris
By Jennifer Campbell
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in December 2016
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