Chasing The Horizon

Music Review ~ by suzan

If you want to feel God smiling, if you want to hear a prayer answered, listen to this stunning sophomore Album by Mitch McVicker ~ Chasing the Horizon.  Mitch's voice is beyond repaired,  It is soaring high with such smooth quality it will astound you.

For those of you who are new to Mitch McVicker; on the final day of recording the first solo album, he was in an accident.  In September of 97 that road trip sent Rich Mullins home to the Father and put Mitch in a coma, with collapsed lungs, broken bones, severe head trauma and a voice with an uncertain future.  Mitch stood strong in his faith and went forward during his recovery writing us a collection of songs, with the dream of someday recording them as he waited for God to heal his voice.  The tubes stuck down him, and the nerve damages done from the severe head injury were not expected to leave his voice permanently damaged.  Yet the long struggling road to its recovery brought doubts, fears and many to their knees in prayer.  Yes God listened to those prayers and His answer is so very audible throughout this album. I believe these songs would have been sung even if his voice was not repaired.  But God decided Mitch would deliver them to us.  Yeah, our God is an awesome God.

This album was etched in my memory right after the first spin. Some of the songs are upbeat ballads, filled with his trademark gifted harmonica and guitar playing.   The message of God's hope, faith and love echo from them like thunder in an electric storm.  They are a celebration and bracing testimony of prayers we can all take to heart with our Lord.  At times they are like a fast heartbeat on a steady go forward energetic pace.

Other songs are mellow, yet very satisfying.  He delivers songs that will penetrate and weave images in your soul.  They are moving, heartfelt with raining raw emotions rendered at tempos that just seize your heart as he sings to God.

If you are only listening to the music it is still awesome.  The arrangements have a mix of instruments in exciting and varied ways.  Besides the guitars, harmonica,  hammered dulcimer and percussion that are his first album trademarks; he has added sounds from a B3 organ, flute, clarinet and horn arrangements to perfection.  You are also treated to a new instrument not often heard on his recordings;  some female background vocals.  Another plus  to this collection of songs is that they can and have been performed impressively in concerts with just three guys, the guitars, percussion, harmonica and hammered dulcimer.  Not very exciting when an artists puts all the mechanical magic spins on a song in a studio that then makes it impossible to play live for people.

Often the predominant instrument played to perfection is Mitch's vocals.  Throughout these songs he will use his unique talent of toning the music down to let his voice carry the message and melody.  The effect he gains when he does this is simply spectacular.

If you are reflecting on the lyrics, be prepared to share in some very introspective ideas.   A look at these lyrics will bring you down a trail of thoughts and images and capture you with the incredible beauty of it all.  These lyrics are brothers, and cousins of his first album; mature, penetrating, addicting and extraordinary.

Mitch is an artist who paints many canvas soul pictures:

He parables the image of the burning fields in Kansas to restore new growth; to asking God to renew our soul. 

Yeah, renew my soul 
like that green grass on the prairies
Rekindle my heart with a passion for You
Restore my mind, take my anxious thoughts away
And, Lord, make me new like only You can do

Another proclaims the world could stop and it would not
matter because flesh is flesh, but Spirit is ever lasting. 

Sometimes this world
It spins so fast
I think I might fall off
And sometimes it slows
To such a pace
I think it might be stalling

One of my favorite images implanted by the lyrics are in the verse

Well the sea is deep and blue, 
And the tide goes up and down, 
Oh the sea is deep and blue, 
And the moon pulls its chain

The parting of Rich Mullins impacted many people.  Mitch who lost Rich as a companion, counselor, co-writer, road and home mate, and soul searcher to the Father's will; has included on this Album the ultimate tribute song to Rich.  I get the feeling he wrote it for for Rich's followers as much as Rich who is smiling down saying something like "Oh Mitch, you are going to Love it!"

I heard he had many more songs all ready for this sophomore Album. These 12 are exceptional, and I image future recordings will be in the same galaxy of brilliance.  Never, ever, envision the quality of this collection would be THIS excellent.  The EP of this project was exciting and held the promise of more treasures on our horizon.  That anticipation however never prepared me for the forceful feeling of being struck by pure awe.

It is a narrow pool of artists that can give such a compilation of songs.  Most songwriters may have a few really hot tunes, and then try to build a album of songs around it.  Some of the songs they record are mediocre and should not always be shared.  I'm waiting to hear Mitch's "it's just ok song."  I may have to ask him to send me a song I won't like.  (He probably would be kind enough to compose a clunker.)   This however, makes it really difficult to give a credible review when your search for the negatives are in vain.  This collection of got-to-hear-them-again songs are the ones to carry around in your memory.

Introducing Mitch's music to friends is such a pleasure knowing it will become part of their collection that does not gather dust.  Exposed to his music for only a few months and being this affected by it can be disturbing.  Sharing the music with family and friends and seeing them sparkle and go ballistic by the gifts God has shared with us in Mitch's music is comforting.   I asked his friend Brad Layher, who played and sang on this album what it was like, he replied: "Mitch wrote some great songs which made the album a lot more fun to play on than if per say they sucked."  Really, that does say it all.  These twelve tracks are our Lord's gift from beginning to end.

I am ever thankful to Rich Mullins for befriending Mitch, hooking him on songwriting, encouraging and collaborating with him.  I am ultimately thankful, humble and in prayer that our Lord is working so powerfully within this songwriter.

God is raining His Gospel down on this artist.  He has planted His message of faith, hope and love through out this project.  Take action today with these seeds to help multiply God's harvest and increase His kingdom.  Befriend someone with the fruits of your Lord's message embedded on every track.

The Spirit comes to us too and uses us as a vehicle to get it where it wants to go.  Hitchhiking from one person to another, then another, spreading the little seeds of faith all over the place.  We have all been called by God to spread His Gospel.  This music is a powerful tool you can use to do that.

Should you buy this Album? You'd be crazy not to.  Don't wait like I did on his first album, enjoy it today!  I'm finding Mitch's music along with so few others is helping me on my journey with God and you can not put a price on that.  The lyrics are on his Official Home Page!

Link to the review by song:  Review By Song

Rating of this Album

Love had his hands
all over this second project
Gave it the up to the Mountain Tops rating

Look inside these other songs with Mitch:

A Look Inside Burning The Fields  ~ Mitch McVicker

A Look Behind The Lemonade Song ~ Mitch McVicker

A Look Inside Strength To Move ~ Mitch McVicker

Mitch McVicker ~  Interviewed by suzan
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