Saturday, June 29, 2013

All the People Said Amen - Matt Maher



Maher’s Boss-like worship further solidifies him as one of the finest in the field.

All the People Said Amen
Artist: Matt Maher (www.mattmahermusic.com)
Label: Essential Records
Length: 13 tracks/66:32 minutes

If Bruce Springsteen decided to make a “worship” album, I can imagine it sounding a little like All the People Said Amen by Matt Maher. Maher is known for songs like “Your Grace is Enough,” and here, in mostly live settings, his delivery of signature songs and new material is raw and even aggressive. Though there are intimate moments with appropriate reverence, much of this has an air of boldness and confidence. Muscular backing from a band that rocks and an exuberant audience make it a boisterous affair. The Boss might approve, but this is directed to please the One to whom all glory, honor and praise rightfully belong. It’s apparent that Maher and the crowd are enjoying themselves, and it shows that worship can be a joyful experience.

Even though I favor quieter moments, I appreciate that this compares favorably both musically and lyrically with anything in the marketplace. Maher has become a favorite for his songwriting depth and artistic sensibilities. There may be many ways to worship, but this is one way to do it right. It combines a little of the singer/songwriter muse with the best in rock.

Even so, Maher is not afraid to reach back into the past for inspiration. On the worshipful, “Mighty Fortress,” one of the few studio songs, Maher adds words and music to verses by Thomas Aquinas.

The opening title track, a studio gem, has a catchy rhythm and a theme that captures the universal need for grace. This is one of Maher’s finest songs. If I could only download one song, this is it.

“Lord, I Need You” is intriguing for a couple of reasons. It borrows a little from the chorus of a beloved hymn, “I Need Thee Hour.” That alone makes it worth hearing. It also includes, fellow Catholic, Audrey Assad on backing vocals. What John Michael Talbot has been to inspirational music, bridging the Catholic/Protestant divide, Maher and Assad are becoming to the modern worship movement. They have broad appeal; their music is appreciated as much or more by non-Catholics.


Those not familiar with Maher may be surprised at the number of familiar anthems found here. Maher writes with some of the best in the genre. He is an artist to follow, especially for those who engage in modern worship.
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