‘Deep Valley’ bridges storied artist's songwriter years with recording
The latest recording in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the untimely passing of American songwriter and gospel music icon Rich Mullins is out now. “Deep Valley,” Mullins' first-ever live recording to be made available to the public, releases today on Old Bear Records (listen here).
“Deep Valley” arrives on the heels of “Bellsburg...The Songs of Rich Mullins” (Old Bear Records), a various artists tribute album from last fall that landed at No. 1 on the iTunes Christian charts. (Listen to the project here.)
Uncovered from a stack of unreleased recordings, “Deep Valley” features 21 live tracks, which include five bonus songs and some of Mullins’ most time-tested tunes, including “Sing Your Praise to the Lord” and “Elijah.” Also included is a batch of Mullins' never-before-heard songs interspersed with his infamous ragamuffin stories and candid opinings.
The album was recorded at Deep Valley Christian Camp in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania in 1984, at the outset of his storied music career.
"Richard loved camp,” recalled Beth Snell Lutz, the album’s primary executive producer and one of Mullins' longest friends, as well as the keeper of “Rich Mullins Early Music,” an archive of Mullins’ earliest unreleased catalog. "He traveled to Deep Valley often in the early 1980s and fell hard for the junior high and high school kids; the love was mutual. He felt completely relaxed and free to be his unbridled self, resulting in a greater number of 'Richard Rants' … what I have always called his rambling talks between songs."
She continued, " ‘Deep Valley’ represents a kind of bridge between his early years as a songwriter and his later years as a recording artist. Some of these songs may be familiar; some will be completely ‘new’ to you. Some are Richard’s alone; some were made popular by other artists such as Amy Grant, Debby Boone and Caedmon’s Call. I hope you will find joy in listening to ‘Deep Valley,’ as you step back into this music from a lesser-known time in Richard's life.”
“During his storied lifetime, and now 25 years after his tragic death, Rich’s words – not just his songs – resonate deep within our minds and our hearts,” added Andrew Greer, co-executive producer of “Deep Valley” along with Lutz, Old Bear Records’ Anthony Hoisington, and Dave Trout of UTR Media. Chris Marchand and Joe Cook are assistant producers.
Greer concluded, “One dimension of our faith is proclaiming what we believe; another is to question what we believe. Rich helped us ask good questions of God, of others, and of ourselves, so that, through our doubts and discussions, we might discover an even deeper, abiding faith. ‘Deep Valley’ is yet another gift from Rich to companion us along our spiritual journeys.”
A press release stated, “Rich Mullins is the author and voice of songs such as ‘Awesome God,’ ‘Hold Me Jesus’ and ‘If I Stand.’ Over the decades, millions have connected with his music, and a wide array of recording artists have been impacted by his simple musical arrangements and raw lyrics, from the aforementioned Amy Grant, Caedmon's Call and Debby Boone, to Andrew Peterson, Ashley Cleveland and Jason Gray, to name just a few.”
Upon its release last fall, the first tribute project, “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.”
Additionally, an article posted in the New York Times honoring Mullins' legacy and how his music, even after 25 years of his passing, endures. Read the story here.
Old Bear Records is continuing to commemorate Mullins' life and legacy. Following “Deep Valley” and “Bellsburg,” the project “Worktapes…More Songs of Rich Mullins” will drop June 2, featuring a wide array of singer/songwriters recording more of his celebrated catalog.