by M. B. Miller
The next guest in Alice Lloyd’s Caney Convocation Series is Chris Mullins, a music educator, performer, composer, and audio engineer. A native of Rockcastle County, Kentucky, Mullins began playing the electric bass when he was young and gradually moved on to playing the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and banjo-ukelele.
“I remember my dad and his buddies would get out their guitars on the weekends and play all kinds of old country songs from singers like John Prine and Merle Haggard,” he recalls. “But somehow I got sucked into heavy metal when I started playing guitar and bass in my teens.”
By the time he graduated high school, Mullins rediscovered his roots and began playing Appalachian old-time and bluegrass music on the mandolin and banjo, performing and giving workshops all around the bluegrass state. Shortly after, he moved to New Zealand to study composition with renowned composer, John Psathas. “I wanted to see how far I could study music at an intellectual level to get a clearer idea of how to express what I wanted at any given time.”
Mullins‘ music spans many genres – electroacoustic, country, heavy metal, old time, but he feels that there is always an underlying connection: “To me, music performance and composition is at its core a form of communication. I just try to communicate something positive, no matter the medium I’m working with.”
Mullins has worked as a musician-in-residence at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Renfro Valley, and now, serves as an instructor at the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music where he works alongside two-time Grammy Award winner Curtis Burch and Bobby Osborne, a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
He also hosts a bluegrass show on WSGS (101.1 FM), a radio station based in Hazard, KY, every Saturday morning. Along with bluegrass, Mullins also plays old-time music, old country, and the Delta blues.
“I am honored to have been invited to Alice Lloyd,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.”
Please join us on Thursday, March 28th, at 1 PM in the Estelle Campbell Center for the Arts (CAC) on the campus of Alice Lloyd College for what promises to be an exciting hour of “edu-tainment” as Mullins takes us on a musical tour of the history of Appalachian music.
**Mullins plans to bring along his student, Leslie Strong, who is one of the region’s most promising young musicians. Some people might recognize her from an impromptu electric guitar performance during a Keith Urban concert at Rupp Arena. Watch her bring down the house here.
***Some biographical information has been taken from Chris Mullins‘ website and has been used with his permission.
The Convocation Series at Alice Lloyd College is partially subsidized by The Edward G. Hefter Endowment Fund.