Tuesday, June 26, 2012
New Project by singer/songwriter Chris Pick Brings Back The Ragamuffin Sound
By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
WILLIAMSPORT, PA (ANS) -- Missionary and singer/songwriter Chris Pick has released a new EP with songs centering on global missions and with production reminiscent of Rich Mullins’ unique Ragamuffin sound. His new CD album, TRAGEDIES & MIRACLES, released this week is a small collection of Pick’s best material spanning the last ten years.
“I often performed these songs at my concerts, and people would come up to me afterwards and ask how they could get those songs,” explained Pick.
The project is a follow-up to Pick’s 2011 holiday release, CHRISTMAS IN THE WORLD. Both were recorded in Nashville this past summer and feature session artists who were well-known for their work on several Rich Mullins projects: Nashville drummer Steve Brewster, Gary Lunn on bass (who played on several Mullins projects including “Awesome God”), and singer/songwriter & producer Rick Elias adds wonderful guitars and keyboards to the recordings. Nathan Zwald handled all the engineering and mixing for the project.
The six song EP opens with “The Greatest Miracle,” a song that contains an answer to questions that arise from trying to comprehend Jesus’ words in John’s Gospel chapter 14. In John 14:12, Jesus tells Philip, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these...." (NIV).
The song ties in perfectly with track two, “Through The Eyes of Jesus,” a song about compassion - written from the standpoint of those carrying on the work of Christ in the world.
“The songcrafter in me first came alive upon hearing The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds when I was a teenager. It was pop music and it was classical music all blended into one – a new kind of sound. It changed the music of its time. Suddenly the music was more complex than simple. Pet Sounds was the first pop symphony, and it became the birth of a new sound that would spawn more music of this kind in the following years, including The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
“The bridge of the song takes the focus off of God’s creation and puts it on God as the creator. It was another great transition,” he said.
“I was asked to do special music at a church not long after I wrote it, and the song blew people away. It definitely put the focus on the awesomeness of God! I was later told that the session drummer loved this one. Rick even had the idea for more of a Beatle-like production on it which is what I went for, and his guitar riffs sound like something from the ‘White Album’ sessions. I love this track the most!”
The final new track is “The Call.”
“I wrote ‘The Call’ in 2003 shortly after I got back from mission work in Peru,” Pick said. “At the time I was doing missions training in South Carolina. The story of New Tribe Missionaries Gracia and Martin Burnham was what inspired me to write this one. They were missionaries in the Philippines, and they were kidnapped by Islamic terrorists and held for ransom. During a rescue attempt by the Philippine Army, both were shot and Martin was killed. This also opened my eyes to the Persecuted Church. And I wrote this song to open other people’s eyes to the needs of the Persecuted Church.
"I continue to use this song to advocate the work of Voice of the Martyrs http://www.persecution.com at my concerts.
TRAGEDIES & MIRACLES ends with “Christmas In The World,” which was first released as a holiday EP in 2011. “It’s a great way to end the project,” said Pick, “especially for those who like to celebrate Christmas in July or even all year around!”
In a press release from December, Pick explained the idea behind writing ‘Christmas In The World’: “The song came to me two years ago when I was asked to play something ‘Christmasy’ for a church service. Not one to usually play Christmas songs at concerts and such, I thought I'd write a song for the service.
“Christmas is my most favorite time of year. And I love Christmas traditions - especially the old Victorian style Christmas celebrations as well as old German traditions. And it got me thinking about how people celebrate Christmas around the world.
“Being in missions, I've seen Dalit children playing on the streets in the slums of Asia. So, I started to think about what it's like for some people around the world who don't have much for Christmas. And for many, there is no Christmas celebration. I even remember being in Peru years ago and hearing about how some women would kill their own children rather than see them starve to death. I spent an afternoon with a pastor from Peru who explained just how hard it is for people in his village to see the love of God. They often ask, ‘If Jesus really loves the world, then why are we living like this?’ And we have people like that in America too!
“And this all brought me back to that first Christmas so long ago...how the people of Israel had been crying to God for four hundred years in misery, waiting for the promised Messiah. And how people at Christmas are still looking for a savior today!”
As a missionary, Pick and his wife Michelle (an elementary teacher in Central PA) are advocates for the native missionary movement and the persecuted church. They partner with Gospel For Asia www.gfa.org with their music ministry. They are also a “Voice” for Voice of the Martyrs www.persecution.com . Pick has been involved with several mission projects which have included work in South America, Africa, Asia, and even in North America ministering to the Lakota Sioux at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Allen, South Dakota. In May, Pick traveled to India for six weeks with Rehoboth Ministries India to help with the training of 25 national missionaries and assisted with work at an orphanage and school for children.
Pick’s music has charted on several continents in both mainstream pop and Christian. His first CD release "Thank You For The Music" (released for John Lennon's 20th Memorial, Dec. 8, 2000 and produced by Johnny J. Blair) premiered in the Holy City of Israel and reached #1 on the KAOS FM charts in Australia.
Pick immediately began studio work on new songs in 2002 as a follow-up to the highly successful Lennon tribute, but this time geared towards global missions. In 2008, Pick returned to the music world with his CD release "Songs In Black & White" (produced by Jerry Lynn) -- earning him a Grindie Award through www.RadioIndy.com .
In 2009, Pick’s song “The Mission” was featured on Quickstar Production’s “UNIFIED BY GRACE, Eastcoast Unplugged Vol. 1” compilation CD to help finance mission work at a medical clinic in Uganda. In 2010, Quickstar Productions released another mission project on-line entitled “A Call For Healing.” The compilation featured Pick’s song “Rachel’s Prayer,” based on the prayer journals of Columbine High School martyr Rachel Joy Scott.
A dynamic performer, Pick's passion for global missions is at the center of his music and concert ministries. Playing a variety of instruments (from keyboard to guitar to lap dulcimer), he has worked with and shared the stage with many artists in many categories of music (i.e. Mark Harris of 4HIM, Davy Jones of The Monkees, Jaded Thorns, etc.) and has performed for mission agencies (Operation Mobilization in Atlanta), benefits (September 11th Firefighter Benefit Concert in South Carolina), and festivals (Vision, Beatlefests, etc.).
For more information, or to hear songs from projects, go to Pick’s
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