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.…