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UTR Critics Remember Rich Mullins
Whether you met him, went to one of his concerts, heard him on the radio or read something about him - experiencing Rich Mullins isn't something most people forget. We recently took the opportunity to share with you how other listeners have been changed by Rich Mullins' life and music, and now we give you an inside look at what Under the Radar's Panel of Critics remembers about Rich.
Jen Rose - Z88.3 Producer, Freelance writer
I wish I could say I had a real connection with Rich Mullins' music when he was still alive, but for whatever reason it wasn't until after he died that I discovered something beyond "Awesome God." I was new to Christian music and devouring anything I could find when the news of his death was announced on my local radio station. After the DJs talked about him a bit, they played "Awesome God," a song I remembered for elementary school. Intrigued, my mom picked up a copy of Songs a week or so later.
Songs and later The Jesus Record showed that the depth of Mullins' writing ran deeper than "When He rolls up his sleeves He ain't just puuin' on the ritz." Rich was the first truly great lyricist I discovered in Christian music. When I was older and struggling with my faith it was songs like "Sometimes by Step," "Nothing is Beyond You," and "Hard to Get" that told me it was okay to falter and fail - that I could never slip too far from God's reach.
Jeremy Gudauskas - Concert Promoter
I became aware of RIch Mullin's music shortly before the summer of '97 - which was also the first summer I attended Cornerstone Festival. I arrived early (during sound check) to his main stage set. He was easily the most accessible artist I had met that week, he jumped down from the stage just to chat with whoever was around. I don't really remember what we talked about, but I remember his genuine care and concern for people. I was already a fan of Rich's music but that short visit made me a fan of Rich as a person. When he died later that summer, I felt - strangely enough - that I had lost a good friend.
Rachel Buchanan - SAU Radio Programming
My favorite Rich Mullins song is "Elijah," it always has been. When we heard of his tragic death, I couldn't help but immediately connect the prophetic nature of those lyrics to how he left to meet the Lord. It immediately takes me to that place when I hear it now.
Dave Wonders - 104.3 The Pulse Producer
When our family purchased a 97 Pontiac Trans Sport with a Cd player in it, "Songs" was the first Cd that we purchased - a Cd that we listened to every time we were out on the road. It didn't take long for me to become a Mullins fan, but unfortunately it was only a handful of months after becoming a fan that my heart was broken over the news of his car accident. One of the most profoundly moving concerts I have ever attended was the Ragamuffin Band's "Homeless Man" tribute tour stop in Minnesota (as much a meorial service for his grieving fans as a concert). I love his older material, but the posthumous Jesus Record is still the album I listen to most often. The song "My Deliverer" gives me chills every time.
Amber Bolton - Concert Promoter
As a young teen I would listen to "Sometimes by Step" over and over again. The song helped me connect what I was learning in church and youth group with my life. We would sing it at camp and whenever I hear it I'm taken back those years. I'm reminded that childlike faith is possible for us as adults. I'm thankful for the power of lyrics and "Sometimes by Step" is part of my faith story.
Russ Breimeier - Freelance Writer
You might say Rich Mullins is one of the primary reasons I finally got into Christian music during high school and college. I remember discovering Z Music Television, a network that regularly showed Christian music videos thoughout the day. "Creed" and "The Color Green" were in heavy rotation at the time, leading me to one of my all-time favorite albums: A Liturgy, A Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band. Finally I had found an artist who combined first-rate musicianship with clever, soul-baring lyricism and a liturgical theme that resonated with my Lutheran heritage. Getting to know Rich's music in the years since then has been one of my greatest pleasures in Christian music; he's frequently one of the songwriters I compare contemporary artists against.
Don't forget to check out Episodes #204, #205 & #206 for more stories and thoughts from other musicians and the late Rich Mullins himself. Maybe you have a story about meeting Rich or going to one his concerts or perhaps you have a vivid memory of the first time you heard his music or where you were when you found out about his tragic death. We would love to hear more stories about Rich so please share yours in the comment section below.