Maher expands on strengths with “Love in Between”

[media-cred­it name=“Courtesy of Prov­i­dent Label Group” align=“aligncenter” width=“480”]Matt Maher cover of  The Love in Between[/media-credit]

Matt Maher plays on his strengths by expand­ing on his Amer­i­cana-folk-coun­try sound with the release of “The Love in Between,” his third CD on Essen­tial Records. In the past few weeks I find myself con­stant­ly reach­ing for this CD. I like the coun­try-rock vibe that res­onates across the 12 songs. Maher calls it “blue col­lar gospel.”

And it’s not just the music that deliv­ers strong vocals it’s the lyrics. Lyrics that pose some tough ques­tions to the lis­ten­er.

His first sin­gle “Turn Around,” is get­ting major air­time on the Chris­tian radio sta­tions and show­cas­es the the­me of this CD, with even a “Hey” thrown in there. The song spot­lights the trou­ble of an addict, a moth­er try­ing to make ends meet and calls us to real­ize that God’s grace is there to help us in all of our sit­u­a­tions.

You don’t have to take the bro­ken road
You can turn around and come back home

Maher, who is also a wor­ship lead­er and is on the board of direc­tors for the Catholic youth orga­ni­za­tion Life Teen, shares his per­son­al life with the lis­ten­er and takes the tem­po down on “Heav­en Help Me.” Telling the lis­ten­er he doesn’t want to be a “poser” in his life as a Chris­tian artist. 

I don’t wan­na sing your prais­es
Just to hear ‘em on the radio

Maher teammed up with Chris Tom­lin on “Woke Up in Amer­i­ca,” a song that is just beg­ging to be a Fourth of July sta­ple. It starts out slow and builds to an upbeat look at Amer­i­ca. A coun­try that has its foun­da­tion in God and has tak­en its licks of late, but the hori­zon is bright.

Lady Lib­er­ty, she leaves the light on.… The sun is shin­ing on me… You’re still beau­ti­ful Amer­i­ca

Every Lit­tle Pris­on (Deliv­er Me)” touch­es on the human need of want­i­ng to fit in, and asks God to “deliv­er me” from this world to see what real­ly mat­ters.

Show me what it all looks like
Scrib­bled on the pages of a human life 

Maher also hooks up with Dan Muck­ala, who works with Bran­don Heath, Paul Moak, Jason Ingram, and Rob­bie Seay — just to name a few — on the CD to bring added dimen­sion and vari­ety, some­thing I “request” of my music. (I’m not a fan of a CD in which all the music is the same — no vari­a­tion in tem­po, sound.) 

An exam­ple of this is “New State of Mind,” writ­ten with Moak. It’s a love sto­ry, and you can just envi­sion Maher singing this song to his wife Kristin and his “walk­ing around in a new state of mind.” 

The next song, “My Only Love,” is an exten­sion of “New State of Mind.” It’s just Maher and an acoustic gui­tar with some strings thrown in and his “only love.”

This CD keeps pop­ping up in my com­put­er, car, home stereo and it will be hard for me to hand it off to some­one else to enjoy. So don’t wait for me to pass it along.…

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