Smalltown Poets was formed in Georgia in 1996 by high school friends Michael Johnston, Danny Stephens, and Byron Goggin, along with (then) Nashville musicians Kevin Breuner, and Miguel DeJesus. They burst onto the Christian music scene with their Grammy-nominated self-titled debut on Ardent/Forefront Records (EMI) in 1997 and released two more albums with the Memphis based label. Three number one singles and a total of ten top ten radio hits helped garner two Best Rock Gospel Grammy nominations, seven Dove Award nominations (including Best New Artist) and a Billboard Music video award for the band. Their song Anything Genuine was featured on the platinum-selling WOW 1999 compilation. Two albums would follow on Ardent/Forefront - "Listen Closely" (1998) and "Third Verse" (2000). In 2004. the band released "It’s Later Than It’s Ever Been" on BEC Records (EMI).