Checking In On Mitch McVicker:

By Jennifer Manning

Mitch Mc Vicker is a seriously gifted guitarist who bears the title of "the man in the passenger seat" the day a car accident claimed legendary singer/songwriter Rich Mullin's life in fall of 1997. He was there on that unexpected day. That's because he had been traveling with Rich for years, playing shows with him and even moving to a Navajo reservation with Rich in Arizona. He also co-wrote several songs and co-wrote (and starred in) a play, "The Canticle of the Plains," with Rich. He met Mullins while still a religion & philosophy student at Friends University in Kansas. It is obvious that this young songwriter has been blessed with a tremendous mentor and lifelong influence in Rich, one the rest of us will never fully grasp. That impact will no doubt continually shape his life. However, it bears saying that Mitch McVicker is talented, insightful, and ready for the world -- all on his own! Christian Youth News checked in on him this last February to see what's cooking.

"I'm recording another album," Mitch begins. "I took time off last year, stopped at Thanksgiving, and had the intention of recording this album. To some people, it seems quick, since my first one had come out in October. But you know, the whole truth and nothing but, that album had been out for about 2 years independently, it was just re-released now (Self -titled / Released by Rhythm House)." On this album is "My Deliverer," the song for which Mitch took home a Dove Award for 1999 Song of The Year, co-written with Rich Mullins. This song was released posthumously by Rich Mullins and A Ragamuffin Band. And that brings up a point Mitch hopes to get straight: he's not nor has he ever been a part of the Ragamuffin Band. "They are my good friends and Rich's band," he explains with genuine admiration, "but I played with Rich-- just he and I. About a dozen times a year - he would play solo and bring me along. We're all good friends." Mitch holds his own on his new album, tentatively titled "burning the fields."

Mitch says this album will feature the cut "When you love" - a song Mullins wrote and recorded 15 years ago. "We had talked about re-writing that for my first album and never did. It's about how, in our loving, we are doing all we are called to do, the penultimate thing . It aint a small thing. It's a hard thing."

Mitch, now 27, has been calling Nashville home for 1 ½ years. He moved there after recovering from serious injuries from the car accident. When not recording, he is spending time with his girlfriend, listening to music, and trying to read as much as he can. He then admits, "I'm one of these people with really good books, but I never read them. I love watching movies." He's also a sports fiend and loyally supports Nebraska football. "That's my all -time favorite. But I am a Titan fan, too!" he adds.

If he was not a Christian musician, Mitch says he would have become a basketball coach! "Working in a church never appealed to me like being a teacher, being a coach, did. I thought I could do just as much ministering to people through those things. I went to college to play basketball, thinking maybe I would take that (as a career field) and just walk through the doors open in front of me. I could still be in basketball today. I just happened to end up as a Christian musician. I feel fortunate to be doing this. It's a major blessing to communicate, travel and point people to Jesus and the kingdom of God. I don't take that lightly, though I do come off rather stupid." he jokes. "I would like to come off as joyful. This ministry is a very serious thing."

He then went on to describe his recent talks with God. "Yeah, God is teaching me so much. I hope to have eyes and ears to get what it all might be. I think right now it's to let go of my wants and my desires, and that He's got things more under control that I might think. I don't have a lot of stuff that the average guy doesn't have, too. As life goes on, I realize that there's a lot less things to focus on than I once thought there were. A few big time truths to hang onto: Jesus is my savior, God is at work in my life, that I trust Him and love His people, the world. And, in that in loving, I am becoming more and more like Him. I need to let go of these huge issues in my head, and be for people like Jesus was. Less concerned with issues, more concerned with loving people."

Before saying goodbye, we asked him for the 'best albums of the year.' "Well, 6-8 months ago, I would say Tom Waits "Mule Variations. " And so far, a few days before 2000 technically, it's got to be Ragamuffins: Prayers of a Ragamuffin." he answers. The new Mitch McVicker album is expected to be released as soon as possible on a national scale. And, if this conversation about music and passion is any indication, it will make many 'best album' lists.

Jennifer Manning is Director of Ground Floor Ministries.