“Bellsburg…The Songs of Rich Mullins” (Image courtesy of Merge PR)
Fri, November 4, 2022 3:15 p.m.
American songwriter and gospel music icon Rich Mullins wrote and recorded treasured songs such as ‘Awesome God’, ‘Hold Me Jesus’ and ‘If I Stand’, before his tragic passing at the height of his career. 25 years ago. Millions of listeners have connected to his music over the decades, and a wide range of recording artists have been touched by his simple musical arrangements and raw lyrics.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of his passing, various artists gathered at his historic home in Bellsburg, Tennessee to record an 18-track album featuring two previously unreleased demos by Mullins himself. Notable artists featured include Amy Grant, Andrew Peterson, Mitch McVicker, Jason Gray, Ashley Cleveland, Sara Groves and Taylor Leonhardt. The album “Bellsburg…The Songs of Rich Mullins (Old Bear Records)” is available here.
Produced by Chris Hoisington, Andrew Greer and Evan Sieling for Old Bear Records, and produced by Greer, Anthony Hoisington and Dave Trout of UTR Media, these tracks were recorded with the sparse instrumentation and arrangements found on many Mullins demos. Each of the artists featured in the project has a personal connection to Mullins or has been deeply influenced by his music.
“Rich Mullins introduced me to an experience with God in the context of music that I had never known. … He made lofty ideas about God so earthly,” Grant said.
“When (Rich) was talking about God, he was talking about a person he knew, not an idea. I wanted it. I was so hungry for this. I’m hungry for this now,” Peterson said. .
“In my experience with Rich’s music, he sends a much needed message to others that clearly says, ‘You are not alone!’ It takes someone brave enough to come first, but once someone comes first, transparency begets transparency, mercy begets mercy, vulnerability begets vulnerability – all things necessary for healing said Groves.
The “double album” which was recorded live on tape also includes a new recording of Mullins’ iconic song, “Hard To Get”, featuring his brother, David Mullins, and nephew, Jonathan Mullins. Demos never before heard are “Whitewater” and “Holy Pretenders”, captured by Mullins.
In addition to the album, a documentary filmed during the recording sessions will be released in 2023 and is highlighted in the album trailer below. The deluxe CD packaging also includes exclusive never-before-seen photos from the album and Mullins recording sessions.
In a recent New York Times editorial, Mullins’ music was described as “a blend of folk, Americana, gospel, Appalachian, and Celtic influences. What sets her apart most are her lyrics. Christian music has been accused of being shallow – infused with a saccharine “Yay, Jesus!” Mullins, on the other hand, was genuine and raw.”
The coin also highlighted this tribute album as part of the 25th anniversary of his death and celebration of his life during his birthday month of October.
To learn more, visit Bellsburg.com.