Mike Richards
Projects Director

Mike Richards is an award-winning songwriter with one Dove Award to his credit and nominations for the honor on several more of his inspirational oriented compositions. He produced two albums that charted in Billboard magazine, “Oh Lord, How Great Thou Art,” Vols. 1 & 2. He is founder of the bluegrass gospel group, The Chigger Hill Boys and Terri, and he cowrote “Face to Face (with Amazing Grace” that propelled the act to number one in inspirational music charts. Although the bulk of his work is centered in the world of religious music, he has written music for movies and TV and has had songs recorded by mainstream artists.


Mike Richards’ interests in music are divided. A Dove Award winning songwriter, Mike has had hundreds of song cuts, both for records and for television and movies. Most of his success as a songwriter has been in the religious and inspirational genres, but his many endeavors also include a stint in the rock and roll field, and his lifetime love of bluegrass music inspired the founding of the successful bluegrass gospel group, The Chigger Hill Boys and Terri.

As a young musician, Mike played in several local rock bands, and one of his units included Chris Mekow- who would later achieve fame with A & M Records' Royal Court Of China. However, Mike's visits to relatives in Kentucky as a boy embedded in him a lifetime love of bluegrass, which would heavily influence his main direction in the future.

Mike began writing with Rodney Lay, Jr. in 1998. Shortly after this, to get ready for a trip to a bluegrass festival in Kentucky, Mike and Rodney decided to put together a band and cut an extended play CD {with only five selections) to sell at the festival. They named the band after Chigger Hill, the community Mike had visited so many times as a boy; the result was The Chigger Hill Boys & Terri. In order to save money on recording costs, the band's singer and her husband set up recording equipment in the apartment and produced the entire project there, little knowing what a momentous day this would turn out to be.  At the festival, the band made such an impact on the audience, they sold all the copies of the CD that they had made for it. In particular, Face to Face (With Amazing Grace), (cowritten by Mike and Rodney,) was a song that was creating a stir and the group realized something was going on beyond their initial expectations.

Mike and Rodney ordered a second run of CDs and sent promo copies to radio stations that programmed this genre of music and the positive response from listeners, not just from the states but also from a number of other countries, was immediate.  Gary Walker was brought into the project to help in promotion and the little old homemade record became a runaway hit reaching number one positions on charts that reflected the genres’ popularity. The group landed a recording contract with Daywind Thoroughbred Records as a result.  Face to Face was nominated For a Dove Award but it wasn’t the biggest song that Mike and Rodney ever wrote; their He Still Looks Over Me not only won the Dove Award, but was named The Gospel Music Association’s “Song of the Year.”  Are You Prayin’ Hard was a number one hit nationally and was used in the film festival winning movie  9000 Needles.

Mike has also enjoyed a level of success as a record producer; his  O Lord How Great Thou Art! Volumes 1 & 2 made the charts In Billboard Magazine. Further attesting to his diversity as a writer, he cowrote feature music for the hit NBC TV show Third Watch (which was also syndicated in Europe) and One Life to Love, another Richards/Lay, Jr. collaboration was cut by Curb Records artist Lee Greenwood.

Mike has enjoyed a longtime relationship with the Walker family as an employee of The Great Escape record and comic book stores and is excited to join Gary and Greg as the third member Of the Great Escape Music team. Gary Walker founded the four-store Great Escape chain but sold it in November 2017 to devote more time to his interests in the music business, among other reasons. The Great Escape Music Group continues to headquarter at the store’s Charlotte Avenue location in Nashville; new store owners Rob and Candace Baker are minority stockholders in the enterprise.