Singer-songwriter Mitch McVicker plays music with a message

Mitch McVicker understands survival. And endurance. And the pain of loss.

Mitch survived a 1997 car accident that resulted in the death of his friend, Rich Mullins. Mullins was a well-known Christian musician.
McVicker sustained massive head injuries broken bones and other internal injuries as a result of the accident. He spent a year recovering and had to learn to walk, talk - and sing, all over again.
He translates his life experiences into words and music that express his faith in God and Jesus. He spends many months on the road with his bandmates, Brad Layher and Joe Curet.

Mitch and his band were recently in the pine and lakes area, performing at the Old Fire Hall in Crosslake on March 28. During the previous month, they had been in Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois - as well as Minnesota.

"People ask me, why do you keep doing this? Why do you drive through the night to get to places?" McVicker said.

"I tell them it's an opportunity to move people's attention to Jesus through a medium that I love to do," he continued.

McVicker grew up in Kansas. His parents gave him a guitar when he was 10 years old. He took lessons for awhile, then started playing more on his own.

"Mom always made me sing in church when I was young, too.

"I'm really thankful that (my parents) gave me a start at a young age," he said.

He wrote his first songs when he was 11, for a school talent show.
"None of them were very good," he laughed.

McVicker said he started playing "for real" when he was in college. He attended Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. That was where he met Rich Mullins. They were in a class together, and graduated at the same time. Mullins invited McVicker to join him on the road.

"I didn't have anything going on, since I was a religion major," McVicker said. He played with Mullins for about two years prior to the accident.

"After I recovered I started out on my own."

"I'm not sure what a 'calling' is, but this is the closest thing I've got to having one," he added.

McVicker said that he wants people to see the good in things.

"I'm tired of missing the good," he explained. "The only reason there is good in the world is because of God."

He said he doesn't "try to be spiritual," either. People often ask him how he "gets spiritually ready" for a performance or for writing a song.

"I feel like I would be getting in the way of what God is doing," he said. "It's humbling that God would do anything with what I come up with."

McVicker recently released his second CD, "Chasing the Horizon." It includes "Rich's Song," which was written for Mullins while McVicker recovered from the accident.

If you chase the horizon long enough,
Then you just might lose the dark
And you found the light
or maybe it found you
and I'm sorry you had to part
Until I think about where you are
You stepped behind a veil and then
you just went on in
But you were here for awhile
and that was such a gift
Do you know what I mean is?

...And I have never known
who heard His voice
But I'm almost sure you did
You had a way of hiding it,
But you walked along with Him
Oh, do you know what I mean is?
As I put words to your life
they seem to come up short
The words meant a lot to you,
But you are so much more

From "Rich's Song"
words and music by Mitch McVicker
copyright 1999

McVicker and friends may return to the area later this year.