Hi Rich Fans,
Here's a great review of Rich's appearance in Alabama last Saturday. This must be where Rich was returning home from when Bob ran into him Sunday (flying back home - see previous post). Thanks a bunch, Martia, for sharing about seeing Rich, and also a little about you.
From: Martia Wilson
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 20:09:02 Subject: Rich in Alabama Sept 14 Hi Daniel, What a serendipity! I have to go back to central AL every other week to care for my ailing Mother, and last Friday I just "happened" to pick up a Friday Birmingham News and in the religion section, here was an ad for a youth leaders' night out event, featuring our beloved Rich Mullins on Saturday the 14th! Since I work with the youth here on the Choctaw reservation, I was qualified to attend this FREE concert, so I went. The venue was a nice church in a little tiny town called Curry, near the slightly larger city of Jaspar, and it took fortynine forevers to get there, but OF COURSE it was worth it! It was just Rich and Mitch McVicker (and Gay, of course--who looks like she's lost some weight and cut her hair), plus there was a youth minister/speaker named Duffy Robbins. The show started 18 minutes late, and if you can believe it, Rich actually let someone introduce him! And another amazing thing: he wore shoes for the entire show! Rich looked real good and he seemed to be rested. He wore a white western shirt and blue jean shorts. And--tell the girls not to cry--he's recently cut his hair back into the style that he was photographed on the cover of "B's Kpr". I had not really noticed Mitch from the BK tour last year in the backup choir, so I was struck by how much he resembled Beaker (only with more hair :). He seems to be a very gentle and contemplative man. Rich commented that he and Beaker both "realized that this guy was more like St. Francis than anyone we knew." He opened the show with "Sing Your Praise to the Lord", then Duffy came up and sang a "jive song" he had written to the tune of "Jailhouse Rock". Rich backed him on the piano and did a rollicking good job--sorta bump and grind. Mr. Mullins is quite capable of stretching out of his style very easily and quite well. At that point (yes, after only one song) Duffy took over and gave his talk, which was quite funny and entertaining--but too long. He spoke for 53 minutes and maybe I'm the only one in the house that thought so, but I kept looking over at Rich and wishing I was hearing him! Finally Rich took back over and they played from 8:10 til 10:15! This concert was so very intimate, like we were over their trailer and they were just singin' for friends...only that would have been a trick, since Rich commented their trailer was "about as big as that baptistry up there". Sorry I am not as thorough a reporter as some of the posts I've seen in the mail archives you keep--I neglected to write the set lists down. Only I can tell you this--Mitch did a couple of tunes from the musical they finished ( the title will be "Canticle of the Plains"). One song was called "There You Are", and it was interesting to me in that it was very freeform melodically, and the only rhymes are in the chorus. The two guys also played the JS Bach duet on the mandolin and mandola that someone remarked about in an earlier post. One other thing that I noticed was that Rich has really been working on his guitar playing; he's using chord voicings higher up the neck and doing some really beautiful finger picking. He also spoke about his involvement with Compassion USA, and in his typical lowkey way invited people to investigate becoming involved with that worthwhile ministry. He mentioned a need on the Navajo rez--two women who are doing a puppet ministry for kids have had a major breakdown of the vehicle that they minsiter and live out of. He asked for contributions to be directed to Gay, so if anyone reading this post wants to get involved in that need, perhaps you can supply them Gay's address or email address... After the show, and incidentally there was less than one hundred people there--there was a reception and fellowship time in the church's family life center. As I had a two hour drive ahead of me, I chose not to stay. Besides, in some ways it seems to me that Rich and I lead parallel lives, I didn't want to tell him that I am doing the same thing he is doing--teaching music as a missionary on an Indian reservation. I guess that might be hard to understand, but I am shy, and didn't want to risk a possible negative reaction from him (I am aware that women say all kinds of wild and crazy things to him to try to get his interest). However, an acquaintance of mine who did stay to talk to him said that he told her he had not started teaching yet, and that currently he is still going on the road two weekends a month, so there is still hope that he has not fully "retired" yet! I don't know if he plans to record "Canticle" yet, but from the things he said about it on the stage, I believe it would have to be filmed! One remark in closing---the first thing I ever learned about Rich Mullins, before I even heard his music (I've only been a fan of his since Fall of 1991) was that he wasn't into this CCM industry for the money. The person who told me this was at that time the VP of a concert promotion company in Bham, and he compared Rich with several BIG names (at this time Rich wasn't that popular) in the Industry, and it was clear by the difference in asking prices were different people's treasures/hearts were. But to tell the truth, I sorta blow off what that guy said, and put it down to hyperbole. But seeing the small size of the church and the handful turnout, I now know for myself that Rich's heart really is like what people have been saying about him. It is a very rare phenonomen in Christian music when an artist will not think himself above coming to play for a few dozen folks. Maybe I'll never get up the nerve (or get the chance again--but every time I see Rich I think it'll be the last time) to speak to Mr. Mullins, but the quality of his soul and his personal integrity were never so obvious as they were last Saturday, September 14 in Curry AL, and I will always respect him as one of the true ministers in CCM. Take good care of you and your loved ones, Martia Wilson Tawodi2@aol.com