Mark Heard

Remembered by Others

``I visited the grave of Mark Heard today. When I knelt to place the 3 roses I brought, I saw a scrap of paper in the bouquet already there. I pulled it out, and this is what it said:
    "The mouths of the best poets
     Speak but a few words
     Then lay down stone cold in some forgotten fields"

     M.H.--You are not forgotten. Thanks 4 everything!
``May his family, friends, and fans take comfort in knowing that these past three years that we have missed him, he has been fellowshipping with our Lord. Mark Heard, grace and peace be with you, and I will see you soon my friend whom I never met.''

Mailing list excerpt by The Unfettered Muse (jenni smith)
(used with permission)

``He was kind of the only guy on a Christian label whose stuff I took seriously. Here's a guy who's just writing songs, and he happens to be a Christian, as opposed to, "Here's a Christian artist who's having to specify some things, if not to the Christian audience, then to the Christian record executives." I mean, like the grunge band that weren't Christian enough because they were talking about personal experience. It seemed to me that Mark didn't do a lot of that. It was just kind of regular stuff, with his viewpoint and observations and faith all mixed in, which is what it should be...

``I know him more than anything as a musician, and he was a really talented musician. He was really good. There was one guy in the A&R department at A&M, this guy Aaron Jakovis. Aaron always thought Mark was great and really liked Mark. And when Aaron jumped ship from A&M during this whole takeover and went to Virgin, Aaron got Joan Baez to record a couple of Mark's songs, and was actually thinking of getting Mark to mix the Joan Baez record.''
snipped from an interview with Tonio K

``As a huge Choir fan, I would have to say that my favorite song on Strong Hand of Love is Tip of My Tongue. But I insist that it's not only because I love the Choir. Of all the songs on Satellite Sky, the 2 that speak most to me are Tip of My Tongue and Orphans of God (and Buddy and Julie Miller's rendition gives the same chills that Mark's give).

``I thoroughly enjoyed Matt's reading of Orphans of God (it was my idea to bring Mark's music into the "debate"), and I agreed in many instances. Much of it, I will be pondering for some time to understand. Mayhaps I will even include some of it in my paper on Kierkergaard that I have been in the process of writing for several months now even though it was due before Christmas (i have a nice prof who really wants me to thoroughly write about my responses to K even the ones I cannot fully justify as of yet). Would anyone like to take a stab at Tip of My Tongue? It speaks to me so much, because so often I feel exactly the same way. My instinctual reactions to texts and music are nearly impossible to convey. It's not a lack of vocabulary, nor a lack of ability to communicate. I can't explain, I can only say that he touches my soul with his music.

"I been boxed-in in the lowlands, in the canyons that think I been pushed to the brink of the precipice and dared not to blink I been confounded in the whirlwind of what if's and dreams I been burned by the turning of the wind back upon my own flames"''
Mailing list excerpt by The Unfettered Muse (jenni smith)
(used with permission)
``Well I just returned from my first ever visit to Macon GA. In fact, my first real visit to anywhere in GA. I had a conference in Atlanta beginning on Saturday evening, so I went down early and spent a day in Macon visiting Jean Heard (Mark's mother). Despite a 7 hour delay and lost luggage, I enjoyed the visit and learned a little more about Mark. (Jean spent most of the day showing me momentos and telling stories).

``One picture that was emphasized (implicitly) was how much Mark loved and appreciated beauty--especially in the supposedly "simple" things. He never grew tired or ceased to be in awe of the wonders of nature. He had a beautiful butterfly collection which he put together over the years and kept under glass. Quite a treasure. I guess if he was driving along and saw a beautiful mountain, or flower, or butterfly he'd make his family stop so he could get out and look or take a picture. (I'm sure that was REAL popular!). He used to order rare specimens from U.Ga. He even used to get eggs and raise butterflys himself. One time he raised a moth and later entered it into a pet contest. (What a funny idea!) He one first prize for "best butterfly" and came home really annoyed that the dumb veterinarian didn't even know the difference between a butterfly and a moth.

``There was another time when as a younger child he saw two dogs mating in his front yard. According to Jean, he was very concerned and asked her what was wrong with them. She answered that there was nothing wrong; it was just the way God made them to be able to make more puppies. A big smile came over Mark's face and a look of awe and he said that God must have been pretty amazing/creative to have thought of something like that.''

Mailing list excerpt by matt dickerson (1 Feb 96)
(used with permission)

``I first heard of Mark through the music of "Appalacian Melody". I liked the progression to "Stop The Dominoes" (a friend, John Patitucci played bass on that one, if memory serves, (he is correct -ed) so that alone captured my interest), but THE album for me is "Victims Of The Age". My memory is of being at CBA (Christian Booksellers Associatrion convention)in 1982, I think, and listening to that album on a Walkman as I made my way past the "I'm-not-perfect-just-forgiven" frisbees[TM] and all the other similar trappings. I remember thinking that "This is what needs to be heard. Do you people have a clue how GREAT this is?". Sadly, they did not. Of my couple brief encounters, my most memorable one was after I finished the recording of an album ("Non-Fiction") and I visited Mark. We listened to it in his studio. He was very encouraging to me (and, as I remember, really taken with Jim Keltner's tom sounds!).

``On a very personal note (and I hope not inappropriate for this group), what always drew me to Mark personally (aside from his work) was a keen appreciation of his willingness to simply accept me and the accompanying kindess that was always there.

``L.A. (where I live) has always seemed to me to foster a "hipper-than-thou" culture run amok. And although Mark seemed to always be able to hang with all those artistic types, yet he apparently had no problem sharing time and extending regard for someone like myself, who couldn't manage an artistic persona if I had a gun aimed to my head! Right before his passing, Dan Russell sent me a demo of Mark's production work with what I interpreted to be a nod in the direction of maybe working together with Mark. I'll always wonder what a Mark-Heard-produced record might have sounded like. And what it might have been like to know the man more than just in passing.

``When I was asked to take part in the Mark Heard Benefit Concert in Nashville, they gave me the obligatory laminate-all-access backstage pass. I had that clipped next to my living room stereo for a good couple years after that and would be reminded by that little artifact of him and his work.

``One day the thought crossed my mind that Mark, himself, unexpectedly got issued the ultimate laminate-all-access backstage-pass. Whenever I have to pin one of those things on, he invariably crosses my mind. ''

Mailing list excerpt by Bob Bennett (22 June 1996)
(used with permission)

``I just want to thank you for the work you've put in on the Mark Heard pages. He was a one-of-a-kind artist who never failed to connect with me. I was introduced to Mark's music by a frat brother at Baylor who had "Stop the Dominoes". He and I were able to attend a concert in Houston in about '83 where Mark opened for Randy Stonehill. (A couple of years ago I talked to the fellow who was manager of the radio station that sponsored the concert. All he had known of Mark was "One of the Dominoes" and the stuff from "The Eye of the Storm." It was funny to hear him talk about how Mark had messed up that night because he really rocked out!).

``From that day on I've grabbed every record, tape or CD he came out with. As I went on to Southwestern Seminary I must confess that there was a bit of concern that somehow a future Baptist minister shouldn't be listening to a fellow who wasn't "praise God for this" and "praise God for that". But then I ran into a couple of fans there, and even saw Mark's lyrics to "Everybody Loves a Holy War" reprinted in an unauthorized student publication, with obvious reference to the Southern Baptist infighting going on strong at the time.

``I've found that Mark's music keeps me grounded as I spend time studying, planning and preaching. If nothing else, it keeps me from going insane when things don't work out as perfectly as other Christian singers suggest they should.''

Private email to the author (I love saying that!) from Jay Fleming (1 Dec 1996)
(used with permission)

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Last updated: 07 September 1999

Copyright 1996 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.
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Miles O'Neal <> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514