Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering Rich Mullins

Andrew Peterson, Jill Phillips, Andy Gullahorn, Jeremy Casella, and Ben Shive will present a concert called "Remembering Rich Mullins."

Performers will share their favorite songs by Rich Mullins along with their own songs.

The concert benefits the Martha O'Bryan Center.

Thursday, September, 20
at Second Presbyterian Church
3511 Belmont Blvd., Nashville
Cost : $12.00
For more info on tickets call: 1.800.838.3006 or go online to: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/19419.

Mullins is best-known for "Awesome God" (a hugely popular praise song...maybe because it's so easy to play and sing, as long as you stick to the chorus; did you know there are verses to it?) and "Sing Your Praise To The Lord" (the latter his first "hit," made popular by Amy Grant) but unless you were glued to Christian radio in the 90's and haven't listened to his albums, you haven't heard anything close to his best work. He deserved the accolades he received (critical and otherwise) more than most, and seemed the least comfortable accepting them. He offered that rare combination of substance and style where the message and the music reinforced each other more than they conflicted. Ever hear that contrived CCM attempt at an anthem "I'm Proud to Be a Christian"?...yeah, Mullins' music was pretty much the opposite of that. That's my "humble and correct opinion," anyway.

I was privileged to see him live a couple of times. The first was while I was in college at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, about the same time as his first album came out (containing the original version of his somewhat prophetic "Elijah"). I frequented a coffeehouse series called Aslan's Lair, held in a tiny basement just off campus. Rich did a concert for a packed house (not saying much, but still...) backed by writer/producer/singer Wayne Kirkpatrick ("Place In This World," "Change the World") and someone else whose name escapes me. Rich persuaded (forced) the introverted Wayne to sing the then-hot Amy Grant song "Wise Up," one of many of WK's quality contributions to CCM, pop and country music (right, Garth and Eric?).

Then I saw Rich with his band at a church in Ashland, Oregon, in '91 or '92. They had a big overflow section with a large screen just outside, easily filled due to his considerably larger following by then. I was inside, near the front, next to my friend and occasional performing partner Scott, singing along, enjoying every second. It was one of the best concert experiences I've ever had.

Even if I don't make it to this concert (I don't always end up going to events I tell other people about), I'm glad to know it's happening...glad to know his work is still echoing off walls around town, in real time and generated by real people...I have a feeling Mullins would be happy about that, if he weren't too preoccupied with whatever he's up to in heaven to pay attention.

1 comment:

Andrew Peterson said...

Thanks for pushing the show. See you there.