By PJ Littleton
Chasing the Horizon
Out of the Box Records; 2000; 12 songs (www.mitchmcvicker.com)
Many may not readily recognize the name Mitch McVicker. Ragamuffin Mitch humbly ministered in the shadow of his friend, mentor and constant companion, the late, great Rich Mullins. A brutal car accident with Mullins on a lonely road a few years ago changed McVicker’s life forever. On "Chasing the Horizon," Mitch rebounds from the struggles and injuries he suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually, and attempts his goodbye to the earthly life of Mullins with lyrics such as: "If you chase the horizon long enough / You just might lose the dark / You found the light / Or maybe it found you / And I’m sorry you had to part / Until I think about where you are."
Notwithstanding, this is not a melancholic tribute in homage to Mullins’ life as much as it is a passage of recovery for McVicker. He faithfully says, "I’m thankful that the love, mercy and grace of Jesus is unaffected by my moods and by my high and low tides." Brave. This is an infectious CD, filling all those wide open spaces of the heart with the sweet smell of fresh-cut evergreen. I keep going back for a whiff. The delivery here is belly-warming Americana pop/folk, at times Dylanesque (particularly when the mournful harmonica swells) with some arrangements that evoke the haunting, reverberating "Twin Peaks" sound of Chris Isaak.
The instrumentation utilized is clever and unexpected with occasional brass, woodwinds, hammered dulcimer and the ubiquitous leslie of the Hammond B-3 organ stitching it all together. But it’s the words here that really matter.
PJ’s OK: An unadvertised "moment
of silence" — a prayerful pause of 30 seconds clears the mind in preparation
for McVicker’s one honor, "Rich’s Song." He sings, "As I put words to your
life they seem to come up short / Words meant a lot to you." Mitch — your
teacher taught you well.