The early formation of the Paynes began over 35 years ago when Mike Payne first learned how to play guitar. He originally honed his craft by changing the lyrics of “Country” songs to become “Gospel” songs to better express his new found faith. The first group formed was the Mike Payne Trio, consisting of Mike on vocals and guitar, his brothers; Mark on drums and Keith on bass where they played at a few local churches. Those early years also saw Bonnie Payne and Sandra Mullins appear with the band for a short period of time.
The Mike Payne Trio then added vocalist Loreen Caudill (Mike’s soon-to-be wife), vocalist Barb Richardson, pianist/vocalist Rudy Pierce and guitarist/vocalist Wynn Henry, the band then became The Glorious Gospel Heirs; named after the church they attended- the Glorious Church of God. The band traveled mostly in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and its surrounding States. After a few years, Barb and Wynn left the group to spend more time with their family. The band found a vocalist/guitarist replacement under their nose when multi-talented cousin Bill Sizemore joined the group.
Mike’s songwriting started to get attention beyond the local churches and many other gospel groups began recording some of his songs such as “God Delivers Again” and “That Same Spirit”. It was at that time that Rudy Pierce suggested the band’s name be changed to the “The Paynes” so Mike could be more identifiable as a songwriter.
The Paynes then signed to Windchime Records and thus began a succession of radio hits that touched many people’s lives. Their first single, “Ready or Not” debuted at # 20 and peaked at # 5 on the charts. Then came “Out of This World” (# 1 for 4 straight months), “Come On Over” (# 30), “I’m a Jesus Fan” (# 2), with that song, The Paynes introduced the first Southern Gospel “concept” video. “The Conversation” charted in the top 30, in spite of the fact that it was never released as a single and “Angels Step Back” was the (#1 song for 5 straight months). Mike Payne also co-wrote with songwriter Ronny Hinson the classic song “When He Was On The Cross (I Was On His Mind)”. This song was named song of the year in 1985 and 1986.
The Paynes then signed with Eagle One Records and made the groundbreaking “Rapture” album where 3 songs all charted in the top 20, “There’s No Place Like Home” (# 20), “Waiting For The Son” (# 15) and “Rapture” (# 2). The Paynes final two albums were recorded for Riversong Records where “Stir Up the Fire” (# 10) charted from the “This is War” album and the title track “God Wants You” also charted in the top 30.
Over the years The Paynes also had many wonderful traveling and recording musicians including; Rod Davis-Piano, Bobby Prater-Piano, Johnny Sansom-Piano, Chris Lee-piano, Farion Cole-Piano, Jim Williams-Bass, Greg Johnson-Bass, Reggie Grimmett-Harmonica and Mandolin, Dave Hutch-Guitar/Banjo, Terry Baker-Banjo, Anthony Neal-Saxophone, Steve Atkinson-Drums and last but not least, Greg Ball-Sound Technician.
First and foremost, The Paynes were Ministers of the Gospel; the lyrics of their songs talked about things of the Spirit and showed the Path to Redemption. Their songs introduced the listener to the Good Shepherd. At many of their concerts, The Paynes visually re-enacted the story of the lame man healed by Peter and John or a conversation between Satan and Death, and no concert was complete without first giving the listener the opportunity to personally become acquainted with the King of Glory. In 1990, Mike was called by God to preach and The Paynes disbanded reuniting only once for a reunion concert in 2000. Mike, his wife and daughter continue to minister, writing anointed songs and preaching His Word