Bellsburg…The Songs of Rich Mullins (listen HERE) was released earlier this month in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the passing of Rich Mullins, the American songwriter and Gospel music icon. Upon its release, Bellsburg (Old Bear Records) hit No. 1 on the iTunes Christian chart and landed in the Top 30 on the Overall iTunes chart. Singles from the double album set were also featured on key playlists, including Apple Music’s Inspired Chill, Amazon Music’s Highly Favored, Spotify’s New Music Friday Christian, and Pandora’s New Christian Music Now.
“It’s fairly easy to create music—that’s simply an overflow of our hearts that we’ve learned to fashion into a song, a session, an album, but waiting to see if anyone will respond to that music once it’s released, that’s tough,” commented Andrew Greer, an eight-time GMA Dove Award nominee, co-producer, and contributing artist on Bellsburg. “But then when someone does respond, and not only responds but resonates with the music, I remember that music is not about getting it right or wrong, but creating a space for everyone to collaborate in the shared experience of making and consuming music, and that feels very Rich Mullins to me.”
To continue commemorating his life and legacy, Old Bear Records will roll out a variety of Mullins-inspired projects in the coming months. Deep Valley, a never-before-heard live recording from Mullins’ early career, will release on February 10, and Worktapes…More Songs of Rich Mullins, a follow-up to Bellsburg featuring a wide array of singer/songwriters recording more of his celebrated catalog, will release on June 2.
A variety of artists also hosted a string of events coinciding with the release of Bellsburg, culminating with a sold-out show in Nashville, TN. In addition, a “Friends & Family” concert was held at Mullins’ alma mater, Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, alongside a ground-breaking ceremony on the campus for “Rich’s Room,” an archive of artifacts reflecting his life slated to open Fall 2023.
Perhaps most significant is a recent article from the New York Times honoring Mullins’ legacy and how his music, even after 25 years of his passing, endures. Read the story HERE.
“I think Rich embodied community on a very simple, natural level,” opined Anthony Hoisington, Executive Producer of Bellsburg and co-founder of Buffalo-based independent label Old Bear Records. “While recording Bellsburg, Connie Hawk, an old friend of Rich’s and the owner of his home where we recorded the bulk of the album, commented to me, ‘You guys are so young–younger than the generation Rich was impacting when he was making music.’ She could see this legacy being passed down. It’s the communal aspect of Rich’s life and legacy that I admire the most.” Hoisington is also one-third of the Americana band Brothers McClurg, who was featured on Bellsburg.
Rich Mullins is the author and voice of songs such as “Awesome God,” “Hold Me Jesus” and “If I Stand.” Millions have connected with his music over the decades and a wide array of recording artists have been impacted by his simple musical arrangements and raw lyrics. Commemorating his passing, a group of acclaimed artists and musicians gathered in his historic home in Bellsburg, TN to record an 18-track album that also features two never-before-released demos from Mullins himself. Notable artists featured include Amy Grant, Andrew Peterson, Carolyn Arends, Mitch McVicker, Jason Gray, Ashley Cleveland, Sara Groves, and Taylor Leonhardt, among others.
A life that continues to impact so many, Bellsburg is a beautiful tribute to the life and music of Rich Mullins. To find out more, visit Bellsburg.com.