|Matt Maher - Empty & Beautiful|
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Reviewed by Julie Porter
Very much from the same kind of musical template as Chris Tomlin and to some extent Casting Crowns, this is the first national release for a worship leader from St Timothy Catholic Community in Mesa, Arizona. Matt of course shot to prominence when Chris Tomlin recorded his haunting "Your Grace Is Enough" and it's that song which is the opener here. As well as that classic both "Lay It Down" and the Lord's Prayer-derived "As It Is In Heaven" would be welcome additions to a church worship group repertoire while uptempo tracks such as "Looks Like A Fool" and "Shine Like The Son" also have their moments. In contrast the gentle melodies of "Your Glory" and "Great Things" include exquisite piano solos and string accompaniment and "Unwavering" is an awesome acoustic track. Overall, 'Empty & Beautiful' is an album bringing us great music from a fine new singer/songwriter.
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|For singer/songwriter/worship leader Matt Maher, there is nothing more special about his call than anyone else’s, and like those before him, he is trying to live that same call, as his 12-track Essential Records debut album’s title says, to be made 'Empty & Beautiful'.|
Maher breaks open these two simple words on the project, in songs that are both corporate and reflective; driving and soft; each one telling the story from a different perspective.
With an incredible love for Christ, and a heart to reach people with the Gospel, Matt seeks to meet people where they are, not where he wishes they would be. Often referring to himself as a “musical missionary,” Matt, who also serves as part of the worship team at his home church in Mesa, Arizona, St. Timothy Catholic Community, shares, “It’s so important to stay in community when you want to write for the Church. That is where your songs come from; from your relationship with Christ, with your immediate family, and the family of believers.
Maher describes the heart behind his album, “In life, we end up having to empty ourselves to achieve that which is beautiful. If you don’t, you never really get made beautiful. It’s a weird dichotomy, especially in the world we live in because there’s so much focus on beauty. The whole idea of having to empty one’s self to achieve beauty is completely counter cultural, but that’s what happens—marriage, service of the poor, sharing the beauty of the gospel.
That’s what Christ calls us to do, and I hope these songs will help inspire people to follow Jesus in that way.”