Andrew and I (Kristen) were best friends who met in choir class. We fell in love and became high school sweethearts. Even at a young age, we both had a tremendous love for music and we both grew up in very musical families. We had big and exciting plans for our lives and our love for each other, but we had no idea the twists and turns that our lives would take over the next 10 years.
Kristen and Andrew (age 16)
After years of dating, we got married on a freezing January day at the young age of 22. After only 9 months of marriage we were shocked to see a faint line on a pregnancy test proving that all our plans were about to change with a baby on the way. Soon after our first daughter was born we found out we were pregnant again. All in all, we had four children in four years. Two sweet girls and two precious boys. No sets of twins, but each kid was 16-18 months apart. Our family grew fast!
Kristen with the four sweet babies!
Although there were many joys in those years, there was also much hardship. Andrew and I had years of spiritual abuse, painful job transitions, traumatic deaths, and the deep stresses of providing for our big growing family. In the midst of our searching and grasping and fear we made decisions and selfish actions that were excruciating for the other spouse. Those decisions lead to betrayal, depression, and left a groaning pain in our marriage. We wanted to run far in the opposite direction of each other and say our story of young love was a big “mistake.”
Andrew writing some of the first January Lanterns songs.
With the weight of the world on our shoulders, we hit “rock bottom,” but that is exactly when The January Lanterns, our indie-folk duo, was born. I was shocked when I, in a last-ditch effort to gauge how “done” our marriage really was, asked Andrew, “What do you want from me?” and he somberly replied, “I want to get up with you tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. before the kids wake up and have coffee with you on our deck.” We stopped everything “extra” in our lives and started waking up at 5 a.m. every single morning. We drank our coffee and talked in the dimly lit quiet hours of the morning to gradually fall back in love. It was incredibly hard and I was extremely unenthusiastic after the trauma we had experienced in our marriage. Those precious and tender early morning moments were exactly when we started to work with each other instead of against each other.
We started writing songs and used music as therapy for our weary souls. Those songs helped us work through our trauma, questions, resentment, and pain. Today we are more weathered, torn, and broken than when we met at the age of 15, however, empathy flows from us like water from a cool spring. We have been in some very low places and we wouldn’t take back the love and lessons that came from those early mornings.
The January Lanterns Project.
Scott Patrick Meyers @Scottpmeyers
As we slowly, slowly, slowly started falling back in love, we played our first local show as, The January Lanterns and over 100 people showed up to our debut. We kept working on our marriage and with the help of my craftsman dad, we finished our dream in-home recording studio while writing songs, and continued to preform locally.
Preforming locally in Columbia, MO
Michael Tooley @MichaelJamesMedia
We have been chosen to play in the biggest musical festival in our town called, Roots N Blues n BBQ, in Columbia, MO, on the bill with Maren Morris, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Lukas Nelson and opening for Mandolin Orange. We are excited about the journey we are on after the hardship and pain led us right back to where we started: music.
Roots n Blues n BBQ festival announcing us on the bill!
Many people ask us what the name The January Lanterns means and we usually describe it as our efforts to bring light and warmth back into that freezing January wedding day. Our goal is to try to bring warmth into our once cold and weary marriage. And now, Andrew and I want to share that with you. Our music project is about vulnerability in a cold world. It’s about warmth in a culture of weary hearts. It’s about reminding us of our love for each other the next time we find ourselves cold and broken. It’s about inspiring others to do the same in their own relationships. Music is therapy. Genuine love and forgiveness is therapy.
Scott Patrick Meyers
Our Facebook: @TheJanuaryLanterns
Our Instagram: @thejanuarylanterns
Check out our NEW single, “All I Think About” on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/21kCmRCZYMSs7zkAIGE0T8
Our website is: www.thejanuarylanterns.com