Heath was raised in a small community on the far western tip of Kentucky called Gage near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Raised up in a country church, he started singing what they used to call “specials” at the age of 4. He quickly gained a passion for the Lord and music at that time. He would sit and listen to his mother play her old Sears’s acoustic guitar as she sang hymns and classic country songs. He learned at an early age that music had the ability to deeply affect people.
Heath continued to grow in music and the Lord throughout his teens. In his early 20’s he moved to Murray, KY to start a job and little did he know this started him on a path of his destiny in the Lord. He first experienced a dark time in his life as forces attempted to derail him. He began to look away from Christ as the food for his soul. During this time though the Lord never stopped working on and through him and Heath began to learn the craft of songwriting. He had several bands and projects that actually gained traction, but it was not where the Lord wanted Heath, so they failed.
In 2002 Heath met his future wife Kristy, and at that point his life began to turn around and back towards God. Kristy was an extremely positive influence in his life and became very supportive of his musical abilities.
Through a series of God lead events, Heath, Kristy, and their son Noah ended up in Calvert City, KY due to a job. They started attending church there and became involved in a contemporary service and leading the music portion of worship. About this time the Lord had put a serious burden on Heath after attending several concerts by Grammy award winning Christian artist, Jason Crabb. Heath shared with Jason about his wish to possibly start a music ministry and Jason prayed with both Heath and Kristy.
From that point a rollercoaster ride began. Not only has Heath released an album, he has played with artists such as Jeremy Camp, Lecrae, and even the artist who first prayed over both he and Kristy, Jason Crabb. Now the future looks brighter than ever as the Lord continues to bless and multiply the ministry. Now with Kristy playing keyboards and an official part of the band as well, he feels that with the Lord’s help, the sky is the limit.
Kristy was born in Seoul, Korea in 1979. Her father William was a civilian military employee and was stationed in South Korea where he met his Korean wife Janam. They moved from Seoul to Indianapolis in 1983 where Kristy attended school. During her school years she started a friendship with a girl whose family moved to Western Kentucky during high school. They both decided after high school to attend college together in Kentucky. That journey brought Kristy to Murray State University. She graduated in 2002 with a BS in Agriculture.
Shortly before graduation Kristy met Heath through a mutual friend. Little did they know at a small fish fry in the middle of nowhere Kristy would meet her future husband. They were married June 21, 2003. Kristy did not grow up in a strong Christian family. They attended church sparingly and were burdened with her father’s ill health. Kristy’s father suffered from a rare disease called Hunters Syndrome and complications of that disease caused his death in 1993. Not growing up in a religious home, she had never been exposed to church or teachings of the bible. Heath and his family brought Kristy to their home church in Gage, KY and she was welcomed with open arms. She finally knew the God that had loved her from the very beginning. Shortly after Kristy confessed her faith and asked God into her heart.
When Heath felt the call to start his ministry in 2011, Kristy was elated to see him use his God given talents to glorify him. She knew that God had a purpose for him and it wasn’t sitting in an office all day. Through the next year and half she supported the band any way she could. Through fundraisers, attending performances, tech support, and even being a “roadie” moving equipment; she believed in the band wholeheartedly. Through that year and half journey with all its ups and downs, Kristy knew this is what Heath was created for. In Mid-2012, the keyboard position became vacant. Heath tried desperately to find a replacement for several months but had little to no luck. One day Kristy seemingly out of the blue, she felt the Lord telling her that she could help fill that role somehow. She thought she might be crazy and thought it was nothing until one day Heath called her and said, “God just told me you are going to be my keyboardist.” She then admitted to Heath she had felt that tugging on her heart as well and started taking piano again. Kristy is excited to be a part of this ministry and to what 2013 has in store for Rising Life. Whatever challenges that brings she knows that God will be right there with them.
Although he was born in Chicago, Illinois, Rising Life drummer Brian Butler has been in Western Kentucky long enough to call it home. He joined his first band in middle school and has been actively “drumming” for as long as he can remember. Like a lot of drummers, his early influences included John Bonham, Neil Peart and Charlie Watts.
Brian has been listening to and playing Christian music since high school and has played on several local records for regional groups. Performing in Nashville at the Municipal Auditorium for twenty thousand plus remains a highlight in his career. However, he insists that whether it’s 25 or 25,000, it’s the playing that he loves.
While Brian has played practically every style of music and different genres, the Lord moved on his heart years ago to make sure the music lifted up the name of Jesus. He has actively played praise and worship music in his church and thoroughly enjoys “cutting loose” as the drummer for the youth camp band. His favorite Bible hero, besides Jesus, is David and his favorite verse is Jer. 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Brian and his wife Kathy have two grown boys and enjoy getting together for St.Louis Cardinal baseball and Kentucky basketball. They reside, work and play in Paducah. God worked his mysterious ways to bring Brian and Rising Life together. After looking on the website Bandmix and seeing an offering for a contemporary band looking for a drummer, he knew he had to make the call and check it out. After the first practice everyone knew God had placed these people together. He is excited to see where God leads….