My friend Mike gave me this guitar around five years ago before he moved away from North Carolina.
At the time, he was playing drums in our little classic rock cover band that a few of us put together just to have fun. Mike was a multi-instrumentalist and insanely gifted. I envied his level of music knowledge.
Mike played a big role in the genesis of Mormon Guitar. While I didn’t start it until several years after he left, he helped give me the confidence I needed to get it off the ground. Mike took a big interest in anything I had written (even if it was garbage) and kept encouraging me to write and arrange more.
Mike became a member of the church while he was in North Carolina. I remember his baptism. I remember him singing his own arrangement of a hymn the next week at church with the Bishop accompanying him. I remember him telling me beforehand that the Bishop thought the piano music in the third verse might be a little too in your face and that he would just repeat the music from the second verse. (You can see why I liked this guy)
I had been playing Mike’s guitar in the band. Right before he moved, he told me to keep it. It was the first and only time anyone outside of my family had given me a guitar.
The last time I played it was about six months ago. Yesterday I got the sudden urge to pick it up.
I started to play Beautiful Savior.
The phone rang.
“Ben, have you looked on Facebook? Mike passed away yesterday in his sleep.”
There’s a special bond you feel with anyone you get to make music with. I’m grateful I have that bond with Mike and many others.
I’m grateful I was playing the guitar he gave me when I got the call.
I’m grateful I was playing this hymn.
After I hung up the phone, I immediately thought of the text my Mom sent me after she heard this song for the first time on my last album.
I’ve never believed in coincidences.