MercyMe Imagine Tour headed to town this week

MercyMe was already a successful contemporary Christian music act when its popularity blossomed thanks to the hit indie film, “I Can Only Imagine” (2018), based on one of the band’s early songs.

The group, which formed in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1994, brings its Imagine Nation Tour to the Nutter Center on Thursday, Oct. 24.

Members: Bart Millard (vocals), Michael John Scheuchzer (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Barry Graul (guitars, vocals), Nathan Cochran (bass) and Robby Shaffer (drums).

Select discography: "Pleased to Meet You" (1995), "Coming Up to Breathe" (2006) and "Welcome to the New" (2014). MercyMe's ninth studio album, "Lifer" (2017), was followed by the best-of collection, "I Can Only Imagine" (2018).

Accolades: The group has received its share of awards, including Billboard's Top Christian Artist of 2018. The musicians hope to add to it at the 50th annual GMA Dove Awards, where MercyMe is nominated for Artist of the Year.

The interview: Cochran, who joined MercyMe in 1997, recently checked in from his home outside Nashville to discuss the band.

Imagined rewards: "This year in particular, we spent a lot of time just sitting around being grateful. It's pretty cool. We're still following up everything that came along with the movie release. It's been kind of a whirlwind."

Staying power: "We call 'I Can Only Imagine' the song that won't go away, but it has been great. All we were concerned about was that the movie told the story well. It obviously focused on Bart's childhood, but it's big part of all of our lives. We were really happy with the way it turned out."

The aftermath: "Releasing the movie was almost like releasing another record, so we've had a lot happening around that. Thankfully, we had a good chunk of time off this summer to kind of regroup. We're just now getting back into the swing of things."

Album No. 10: "We're in the throes of trying to finish a record right now. We should've been working on more this summer. We carried over bad habits from high school and we're doing our homework at the last minute but we're slowly finishing it up."

Fertile times: "We've always set out to be honest about what we're doing, why we're doing it and why we write the way we write and the things we talk about. We always said we'd keep doing this until it didn't seem like we were 'bearing fruit,' as we called it. We're surprised after 25 years people are not only interested in what we're doing but are still passionate about it."


Who: MercyMe's Imagine Nation Tour with special guests Crowder and Micah Tyler

Where: Nutter Center, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Fairborn

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24

Cost: $23-$150

More info: 937-775-3498 or

Artist info:

About the Author