Matt Maher

 

Matt Maher

About: 

Intrinsically linked to the human condition are the desires to be known, understood, and heard: to count for things that matter. Echoes, the newest studio record from MATT MAHER (Essential/Sony) is a collection of declarations in the midst of dealing with human suffering. After writing most of the songs for the record, Maher lost his father, and “Echoes” took on a whole new personal dimension for the artist. “Worship music paints with broad strokes for large groups of people, that stem from intimate stories and experiences; the challenge, as a creator, is to somehow let the former come out of the latter.” In his own moment of loss, Maher found himself processing his grief from the truths and declarations in the new songs. “Jesus chose to respond to death by embracing it. By embracing it, He destroyed it. This record became, for me, my response to sin and suffering. I had to formulate my own echo. I had to decide if I was going to echo the message of the cross back to the world, or my own narrow view of suffering.”

The title “Echoes” comes from the idea of passing on what we’ve heard. As children, we learn how to communicate from what we see and hear. If ‘faith comes by hearing,’ (Romans 10:17) as St. Paul says, “then what we choose to echo back into the world from what we hear is vital.” Spiritually, it’s about how you transmit your faith back into the world. In modern society, people can become satisfied amplifying someone else’s ideas. We read a post or see an image and think, ‘Yes, that’s how I feel.’ But without true contemplation, it can ring hollow. “I believe the people who should be most mindful and most thoughtful about what they say and how they respond,” shares Maher, “are Christians. That is the main message of this album - asking the question, ‘How do we echo our faith?’"

Maher found his echo in the paschal mystery, or the Passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus - describing the cross as two opposing axis, the vertical and the horizontal. “There’s a duality in the two dimensions of the cross: that of God reaching down to humanity in the vertical, and God reconciling us with each other in the horizontal. Most people tend to fall into different camps, focusing on either the vertical or the horizontal, but not both.” For Maher, it was imperative for “Echoes” to showcase both perspectives, the underlying spirit of being understood in the heart of God and the worship that overflows from that security. 

The record beautifully showcases the tension of worship in the midst of suffering while still being able to speak and sing of the glory of God. For all of its focus on the human condition of suffering, “Echoes” is not a sad record. “What A Friend,” Maher’s spin on the hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” is an exuberant track filled with joyous hand claps and gang vocals just this side of a party. There’s joy weaved throughout, a joy that can only be found in knowing and being known. “I’m totally understood in the heart of God. He understands me. The more I know that God understands me, the less I need the world to.” You can hear Maher’s found freedom on tracks such as “Your Love Defends Me,” “Holy” and “As Good As It Gets,” where Maher writes about enough being all you need. “The phrase ‘as good as it gets’ can sometimes swing negative, but in this sense, it’s a picture of enough. God’s grace is enough.” It’s a running theme on “Echoes," marrying praise with suffering, adoration with sorrow, joy with loss. 

Another compelling example of Maher’s interpretation of the concept of echoes are a number of long beloved hymns referenced throughout the record. “So many of the hymns that inspired these songs were written by people experiencing their own profound suffering. Also, I like stealing words from dead people,” Maher jokes. One such story is about the interminable classic, “Just As I Am.” Charlotte Elliot, the original hymn’s composer, wrote the famous words while experiencing a gigantic crisis of faith. Her spiritual director encouraged her to write poetry in response to her doubts. “One of the most popular hymns in the Baptist hymnal was written by a woman who was going through a deep, existential crisis about the existence of God,” Maher says. “That doesn’t sound like something from 1835, it sounds like something from 2017. She wrote those words, ‘just as I am, without one plea, but that your blood was shed for me,’ while experiencing painful doubt. You can’t separate her suffering from the truth of the song.”

Maher is no stranger to songs that connect to the heart of the human condition, having penned numerous No. 1 hits and performed around the world, including at an intimate meeting with Pope Francis earlier this year. With “Echoes,” he digs a bit deeper, exposing the raw nerve of love and loss and piercing it with truth.

Videos: 
Matt Maher - What a Friend (feat. Jason Crabb)
MATT MAHER FEAT. HANNAH KERR - Your Love Defends Me: Song Session
Matt Maher - Echoes One (Official Audio)
Matt Maher - Because He Lives (Amen) [Official Lyric Video]
Matt Maher - All The People Said Amen (Performance Video)
Matt Maher - Lord, I Need You (feat. Audrey Assad) - Acoustic

Upcoming Events

September 19, 2018
Birmingham, AL
Alabama Theatre
September 20, 2018
Evansville, IN
Aiken Theatre at The Centre
September 21, 2018
Bloomington, MN
Cedar Valley Church
September 22, 2018
Paoli, PA
Abbey Faith and Music
September 23, 2018
Lexington, KY
Quest Community Church
September 29, 2018
San Diego, CA
Petco Park
September 30, 2018
Chandler, AZ
The Grove
October 10, 2018
Dallas, TX
Majestic Theatre
October 11, 2018
Yukon, OK
Trinity Baptist Church of Yukon
October 12, 2018
Broomfield, CO
First Bank Center
October 13, 2018
Kansas City, MO
Sheffield Family Life Center
October 14, 2018
Waukesha, WI
Fox River Christian Church
October 17, 2018
Charlotte, NC
Ovens Auditorium
October 18, 2018
Indianapolis, IN
Old National Centre
October 19, 2018
Virginia Beach, VA
Sandler Center for the Perf Arts
October 20, 2018
Stamford, CT
The Palace Theatre
October 21, 2018
Hershey, PA
Hershey Theatre
October 25, 2018
Effingham, IL
Effingham Performance Center
October 26, 2018
Weston, WI
Mount Olive Lutheran
October 27, 2018
Bourbonnais, IL
Olivet Nazarene University
October 28, 2018
Fort Wayne, IN
Memorial Coliseum
November 08, 2018
Monroe, LA
North Monroe Baptist Church
November 09, 2018
San Angelo, TX
Paul Ann Church
November 10, 2018
Longview, TX
LeTourneau University Belcher Center
November 11, 2018
Paducah, KY
Carson Center
November 14, 2018
Punta Gorda, FL
Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center
November 15, 2018
Palmetto, FL
Bradenton Area Convention Center
November 16, 2018
Clearwater, FL
Countryside Christian Center
November 17, 2018
Lakeland, FL
Victory Church
November 18, 2018
Brooksville, FL
Grace World Outreach
November 19, 2018
Conroe, TX
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
November 29, 2018
Fayetteville, NC
Crown Complex
December 01, 2018
Charleston, WV
Charleston Civic Center
December 02, 2018
Cape Girardeau, MO
Show Me Center
December 06, 2018
Tulsa, OK
BOK Center
December 07, 2018
Lubbock, TX
United Supermarkets Arena (formerly United Spirit Arena)
December 08, 2018
Rio Rancho, NM
Santa Ana Star Center
December 09, 2018
Las Cruces, NM
Pan American Center
December 11, 2018
Springfield, MO
JQH Arena @ Missouri State University
December 13, 2018
Cedar Park, TX
Cedar Park Center
December 14, 2018
Bossier City, LA
CenturyLink Center Arena
December 16, 2018
Sugar Land, TX
Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
February 01, 2019
Orlando, FL
Universal Studios
February 21, 2019
Newark, DE
Bob Carpenter Center
February 22, 2019
Charlottesville, VA
John Paul Jones Arena
February 23, 2019
Wilkes-Barre, PA
Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
February 24, 2019
Ypsilanti, MI
EMU Convocation Center
February 28, 2019
Boise, ID
Taco Bell Arena
March 01, 2019
Salem, OR
The Pavilion
March 02, 2019
Reno, NV
Reno Events Center
March 03, 2019
Fresno, CA
Save Mart Center
March 07, 2019
Stockton, CA
Stockton Arena
March 08, 2019
Ontario, CA
Citizens Business Bank Arena
March 09, 2019
Henderson, NV
Henderson Pavilion
March 10, 2019
Phoenix, AZ
Grand Canyon University Arena
March 12, 2019
Tucson, AZ
Tucson Convention Center
March 14, 2019
Colorado Springs, CO
Broadmoor World Arena
March 15, 2019
West Valley City, UT
Maverik Center
March 17, 2019
Amarillo, TX
Amarillo Civic Center
June 22, 2019
Dewitt, MI
St. Francis Retreat Center
August 15, 2019
Sedalia, MO
Missouri State Fair