Matt Maher Releases Spectacular New Album

Why you should listen to the CCM artist who is uniting the faithful.

By James Randall Robison Published on March 16, 2015

Matt Maher, the award-winning singer-songwriter known for such hits as “Your Grace Is Enough,” “Lord, I Need You,” “Rise Up,” “Alive Again” and “Turn Around,” releases his newest collection of songs this Tuesday, Saints and Sinners. It’s his first album since 2013’s Grammy-nominated “All the People Said Amen.”

The lead-off single, “Because He Lives (Amen),” currently sits at number four on Billboard’s “Hot Christian Songs” chart. The song is typical of Maher’s anthem-like style and showcases his collaboration with other great writers, including Bill and Gloria Gaither, Jason Ingram and Chris Tomlin.

For Saints and Sinners, Maher also teamed up with such writers as Thad Cockrell from Leagues, Jon Foreman from Switchfoot, and Bo and Bear Rinehart from NEEDTOBREATHE. The result is another fabulous array of pop and worship songs with a touch of gospel. “Sons and Daughters” opens with a sampling of Martin Luther King, Jr. as Maher invokes the struggles of the past to address the reconciliation efforts of the present. He declares, “We are marching on, but there’s a price we have to pay / For love means taking on the weight of what was won.” A full gospel choir joins him singing, “We shall overcome / The victory is won.”

Though written prior to the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., it could have been forged in the fires of the racial strife. Reconciliation across racial and denominational lines carries much weight in Maher’s message. “God used the church in the ’60s to inspire a nation for healing. Most people don’t think about the fact that a lot of people in the civil rights movement initially were pastors. Faith was the thing that motivated people toward eradicating injustice,” he says. “‘Sons and Daughters’ is a special song, and I hope it will play a part in inspiring more Christian leaders toward reengagement in the issue of civil rights.”

Picking hit songs can be tricky, given the strength of the overall work and the finicky nature of Christian radio, but my top choice would be “Glory Bound.” Like “Turn Around,” it speaks to the lost, imparting a message of hope and encouragement. “There is a train for the cheats and liars / For all the hitchers looking for a ride / There is a train for the lonely drifter / Tired of walking all alone in the night.” He continues in the chorus with, “Well I don’t know which way you’re going / And I don’t know if you’re lost or found / All that I know is you’ve been forgiven / I tell you this train is glory bound.”

Another stand-out is the haunting “Firelight.” It recalls the ministry of Mother Teresa and draws from her quote, “If I ever become a saint, I will surely be one of darkness. I will continually be absent from heaven to light the light of those in darkness on earth.” To echo her sentiment Maher employs dark, driving verses and emerges with an optimistic chorus. It is the soundtrack for a believer struggling to bring the light of the Gospel into a dark world.

Maher’s path has been unusual for most contemporary Christian artists. Born in Canada, he moved to Arizona with his mother when his parents divorced. His musical prowess evidenced itself early as he won a scholarship for studies in jazz piano at Arizona State University. After graduating, he accepted a full-time position at St. Timothy Catholic Community in Mesa, AZ, and began writing songs. His first three albums were independent efforts, then he was signed by EMI Publishing and wrote songs for such artists as Bethany Dillon, Phillips, Craig and Dean, Kathy Troccoli, and Chris Tomlin. Two years later Essential Records signed him to a recording contract and he released Empty and Beautiful, spawning the top-ten song “Your Grace Is Enough.”

This year’s Saints and Sinners is his fifth album on Essential Records. For fans, it won’t disappoint. Maher delivers another superior album full of grace, hope and a heart for reaching the lost while uniting the faithful.

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