iTunes Playlist: Rich Mullins

Ten years ago tonight, Rich Mullins, the ragamuffin musical artist, passed on into eternity. His music and lyrics were relentlessly well-crafted, and sprung from an attitude of complete honesty and humility before God.

Rich Mullins's music influenced me profoundly in two ways. First, his songs provided the soundtrack for my formative years in the Christian faith, and often expressed the deepest feelings of my heart better than I could myself. Also, he served as a gateway to the writings of Brennan Manning and G. K. Chesterton, which have been my philosophical guiding lights as I stumbled through my twenties.

Rich's music is a lot like Guinness - it takes time to develop a taste for, but when you do, you will love it like nothing else. As a simple introduction, I respectfully submit the following CD-length iTunes playlist. If this whets your appetite, I suggest you check out the Rich Mullins tribute website. Enjoy.

1) Teaching Awesome God (live) - A recording of Rich teaching his most well-known song for the first time. I like this version more than the album version.

2) Elijah - Rich's first solo hit, which takes on a eerie, haunting quality when one considers the sudden way he left our world.

3) If I Stand - A beautiful hymn of devotion, featuring a young Michael W. Smith on piano.

4) Bound to Come Some Trouble
5) The Love of God
6) My One Thing - A trilogy of songs that starts with the theme of assurance, goes on to the unconditional love of God, then ends by with the expression of a pure heart. My One Thing was the first song where Rich played the hammered dulcimer on an album.

7) Calling Out Your Name - Another hammered dulcimer piece that celebrates the wheatfields of the Midwest. Rich wrote it after riding his motorcycle across the Kansas plains. Probably my personal favourite of his.

8) Sometimes By Step - I love this song because the verses add context to a familiar chorus by addressing the theme of struggle on the Christian journey. Also features the hammered dulcimer.

9) Growing Young - A song of surrender that includes a confession from Chesterton - "We've sinned and grown old." Chesterton goes on to muse that our Heavenly Father may be younger in heart than we are, and therefore does not share our cynicism. An astounding (and encouraging) thought...

10) The Color Green
11) Hold Me Jesus
12) Creed
13) Peace - This series of songs comes from Rich's finest album, A Liturgy, A Legacy and a Ragamuffin Band. The album is a corraboration of several talented Christian musicians playing Appalachian-style instruments. The egoless fellowship of the Ragamuffin Band and high caliber of songwriting combine to make this album great. These four songs follow the form of a Liturgy, comprising a classic praise song, a confession, a declaration of faith, and a communion blessing, respectively.

14) Land of My Sojourn - An eloquent rumination on our mixed legacy as Christians and Americans from the album mentioned above.

15) Eli's Song - Rich's last hammered dulcimer song, recorded on the Brother's Keeper album, and dedicated to the newly born daughter of one of the Ragamuffins.

16) Hard to Get - A few days before Rich died in a car crash, he recorded nine songs for an upcoming album into a boombox. The recording was salvaged and released as part of The Jesus Record. This song captures the haunting, rough yet ethereal nature of Rich's final recording.

17) Nothing is Beyond You - Recorded posthumously for The Jesus Record, this hymn features Amy Grant on vocals.

18) That Where I Am - This track deftly combines the raw boombox recording with the studio recording, and is a fitting valedictory song on The Jesus Record.

19) None are Stronger - Rich ended every concert by getting the crowd to sing the Doxology, then quietly walking offstage before they finished. This was typical of a humble nature that sought to give glory to the God who loved him. I believe that this song, never recorded in a studio, offers a glimpse into that humble nature.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above the heav'nly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost


At 12:11 AM, Blogger Wilson Parrish said...

Thanks, NateBlogg. I, too, have had my faith shaped and reshaped by Big Brother Rich. I just read something about him at


Including this paragraph:

"The profits from his tours and the sale of each album went to his church, which divided it up, paid Mullins a small salary, and gave the rest to charity. Mullins was also a major supporter of Compassion International and Compassion USA."


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