From Laura Agee
Jan 4 2006
Reflecting on the Past
Author, songwriter, poet. He is all of these and dreams of more...creating his own travel documentary and playing a tuba. Some of his dreams have come true. But, Mitch McVicker knows that seven years ago, those dreams could have been misty notions. His voice almost silenced; His music almost died, when he had barely had began to live or sing.
All could have been stripped away in a single day in 1997 when his best friend, Rich Mullins, was killed in the automobile accident that changed Mitch McVicker's voice forever.
"I think I started noticing (my voice) very well could have been healed four years after the wreck. I know my voice was knocked down to 15 to 20 percent and it had taken me 24 years for my voice to grow to that point. It's not surprising to me to have someone say, 'Well it will take a few years for it to grow back to where it was.' My voice is different now, but I couldn't expect anything more.
It is just up to me now to use what I've been
given to become a better singer," he said.
The now-happily-married McVicker simply embraces what he's been given without questioning.
"I don't know why Rich was taken from the body of Christ and why I overcame the obstacles I was facing so I could remain. I think we get caught up in all the logistical matters of life -- the what, where, when and all of that ... and God tells us to move forward and embrace what we're given. I know Rich is embracing what he's been given right now and so I try to embrace what I've been given. What have I been given? What do I get to do? I get to stick around, to love," McVicker said, as he reflected a moment on the past.
There is no bitterness for the tragedy that forever changed him. "I'm glad for Rich and I'm just glad for me," he said.
He has learned life is just "walking by faith trusting you're doing what you need to do regardless of the outcome." He found out about continuing to walk by faith this past December when his record label, Spindust, folded.
"Spindust is now, Spin don't," he said, laughing.
"With the whole wrench being thrown in the recording process, I am just
trying to figure out what to do, how to do it, how to fund it and where
to go." But, he isn't letting the latest thrown wrench stifle any of his
creativity or of the maturity that has emerged as a result and guided a
now-wiser Mitch. And, he wants to be sure his songs lose nothing in translation.
I am sure if someone compared the songs on this album to past albums when this album comes, it will be a whole lot different than what I was doing six or seven years ago. But the essence is the same and I hope the tunes are just as catchy," he said.
Does he ever think about what Rich Mullins would say about this new work in process?
"I think about what his reaction would be to pretty much every song I write and it is truly intimidating. He was the best -- the very best. It's good to try and live up to his investment in me. I know comparison isn't a healthy thing...so I go, "You know this is not going to be a Rich Mullins song. But every now and then, what has rubbed off on me will show itself. I'm thankful for that influence. When he was around, I was always trying to make him proud of me, so I hope that's still going on...," he said, laughing again.
Subconsciously, maybe he is simply applying what he learned from his mentor and best friend and it's seen in the carefully chosen selection of stringed instruments blended with harmonica, keyboards and percussion on this new album.
This new album, which he gives the working titles of Over Cup Runneth and Before the Sun Floats to the Top, will even have a surprise included.
Drawing spiritual energy from his band mates
"I will have a brand new instrument I call a Sauntra Lonica. I can't say what that is until it's time," he explained.
Though the recording process has been slowed down, he isn't too worried. The album he hopes will still be released either late this year or sometime early next year. Yes, tough lessons learned for one so "Honest of Heart."
"Honest of Heart" is just one of the songs on his album, along with "Wounded One," and "Along the Rocks." And while he enjoys music and giving concerts, this guitarist and harmonica player has found a single advantage.
"I don't get the advantage of having a structured community around me, but I have the next best thing going as far as I can tell of getting to do this, and having the people I love and get rejuvenated by all around me wherever I go.
For Mitch McVicker it isn't just traveling that excites him, it's also just doing.
He was asked to write the May devotions for
Cokesbury-Abingdon Press's 365 Days of Meditation for Young Adults and
he discovered a few things in the process.
"I love getting to write, but this was a whole different form of expression. It was a growing experience. In the middle of it, I felt tapped out. I didn't think I had anything else to say, but, that was when I had to dig in there and go 'What else do you have for me, Lord?'" he said.
He enjoyed the opportunity of getting to communicate spiritually with people so much and writing a book that he is already planning to write another book. "I am not sure when that will happen, but it will be called 'Far From Filler'," he explained.
Though much of what he has to say already is 'far from filler,' he won't be able to do any of it...the bookwriting, concert playing or even songwriting without support.
His best support doesn't come from those he meets on his travels on the road, his family or the even the guys that he plays with night after night -- Brad Layher, acoustic/electrical guitarist and vocalist, Joe Curet, percussionist, or Sammy Horner, from Scotland, who plays bass guitar for the group. His best support, McVicker says, is knowing his wife Paula is backing him 100 percent.
"She makes it even more possible (for me to do this) than if I was on my own. It is great to know that it isn't just this, that there is a whole other life intertwined with this one when I get home," he said. And soon, he will have a new reason to celebrate family by becoming a first-time dad on or around Nov. 12.
Of course, he doesn't dismiss the spiritual energy that he draws from his band mates, either. "We don't have any structured devotions as we are driving down the road, but we will end up in this conversation, that, I'm like, that's what that was. We definitely draw spiritual energy from each other and hold each other accountable in a real gracious way and I'm thankful for that, he said.
He even gains inspiration from journaling. "Journaling is a very spiritual thing as far as opening myself up to life, the day in the life ahead and reading the scripture. Every now and then something will spill out while I'm journaling and I am like, 'Wow, I should go with that a bit...' and swish it around in my head. It might end up being something I talk about in a concert or something that ends up being a song, but I think that's the whole idea behind it -- being sensitive to what God is doing inside of you," he said.
McVicker will be taking that sensitivity and
everything that embraces it and embarking on a 60-city tour promoting his
fourth solo album this fall. But, his true focus deep down isn't anything
he has or will do. It isn't a question of what's important, but rather
who's important. "I don't think we need to focus on ourselves nearly as
much as we think we do. I love getting to share what's happening with me
in hopes that it will points people to Jesus!" he said.
obtained from mitch for sound/picture files used