To lead listeners from all
Christian denominations on a spiritual journey as he explores through the songs
on this album the wonders and challenges of following God's call to a life of
"Henri Nowen said that the
greatest sign of a Christian was their sense of hospitality. So, in the name of
Jesus, welcome. Welcome to life - in the church, out of the church, in the sacraments,
in our sin, in seasons, in love and pain, in joy and sorrow, in growing and refusing
to grow, in pride and surrender, in marriage and divorce, in hurt and forgiveness,
in being young and feeling old, and in our ugliness still somehow looking beautiful
despite ourselves." - Matt Maher
ABOUT MATT MAHER
Before he started this
music ministry to the outside world in 2002, he was already serving as a youth
music ministry leader, with his friend and mentor, Tom Booth, at their home church
near Tempe, composing their own songs for the youth and young adults, bringing
contemporary Christian music to their Catholic Church, which has been and continues
to be a huge success.
However, the Lord had
much bigger plans for Matt Maher's gifts and musical talents; to be in a musical
ministry for all young people; expanding his musical outreach to not only Catholic
youth outside his own church, but also to youth in other Christian denominations
and youth who don't know Jesus yet.
of Matt Maher's music ministry to the rest of the Christian world began in 2002,
when Matt Maher's songs first received national exposure when other artists recorded
them. His songs, JUST LIKE YOU and LOVE HAS COME were recorded by Kathy Troccoli,
on her album, HEART OF ME, an album which earned a Grammy nomination for best
Pop / Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year in 2002.
END AND THE BEGINNING
Encouraged by Tom Booth,
who himself was having a CD released, Matt Maher released his first CD in 2002,
entitled THE END AND THE BEGINNING, which earned Matt Maher in 2003 an UNITY Award
for "Best New Artist of the Year," from the United Catholic Music and
THE END AND THE BEGINNING
was released under the Spirit and Song label, who also releases albums for such
up and coming artists including his friend Tom Booth, Sarah Hart, Ceili Rain,
Daughters of God, Steve Angrisano and Julie Hoy.
Maher comments on the main themes found throughout
the songs on this album: “We are an ‘end people.’ Most of us spend our lives stuck
at the end. For some the end means death, or graduation, or changing careers.
We look at it all with finality. God looks at the end and says, ‘No, that’s the
beginning.’ With God, death is life.”
award got his music noticed by others, wanting music which appealed to the young
and ministered to them at the same time. One of his songs, LITANY OF THE SAINTS,
from THE END AND THE BEGINNING album was sung at the official Papal Evening Prayer
during the World Youth Day in Toronto. The holy father, Pope John Paul 11 sang
Maher's contemporary lyrical prayer, along with 700,000 enthusiastic youthful
pilgrims from all over the world.
In between performing for large events, youth concerts, etc. and leading youth
worship in his own church, Matt Maher got together with his friends and recorded
his second CD, entitled WELCOME TO LIFE, which again earned him recognition by
not only the Catholic youth and young adults, but also was noticed by other Christian
music lovers, moving into a broader audience of fans.
the 2005 Unity Awards, Matt Maher once again was honored by two nominations; Male
Vocalist of the Year and Artist of the Year, because of his album of songs, WELCOME
Despite his success in Christian music,
Matt continues full time in his original music ministry with his friend and mentor,
Tom Booth. As a youth worship leader and as a young adult minister, and leading
a young adult Bible study in a Mesa Arizona church, St. Timothy Catholic Church.
OF WELCOME TO LIFE CD
Matt Maher has been called to and has devoted much of his energy and
gifts into the spiritual development of youth and young adults. The
songs on his new album, WELCOME TO LIFE testify to his very special music ministry
he has nurtured and grown for the benefit of the younger generation. The songs
are aimed at youth and the young at heart, exploring themes human beings universally
struggle with in this earthly life, themes which he expresses both lyrically and
musically in just the right combination in these compositions.
his energetic to poignant acoustic / pop / ballad / hymn and rock songs, Matt
offers a variety of inspiring guitar-based praise and worship anthems, poignant
prayer hymns, and ballads which are musically enjoyable, uniquely different, offering
something on this album for most everyone to relate to and enjoy. There is never
a dull repetitiveness in either the compositions or lyrical content.
praise and worship compositions sometimes offer a nice blend of an acoustic ensemble
voices, melded with background electric guitar, and a steady driving infectious
beat all which propels the catchy melody which grabs the listener instantly, in
such songs as JERICHO. Another unique acoustic praise and worship song of hope
is his composition based on ISAIAH 61, which catches the spirit of this ancient
Other Praise and worship songs,
such as ALL GLORY TO GOD are aimed directly at the young, with pounding acoustic
/ electric rock as the musical vehicle but still have the customary bright melody,
meaningful message, strong clear vocals which clearly praise and worship the Lord.
prayer hymns and ballads are also diverse musically, adding sparkle and variety
to the various songs in these categories. A truly beautiful prayer hymn which
would be at home in any contemporary service is JESUS, MY EVERYTHING.
ballad about true love, SET ME AS A SEAL, between a man and a woman has universal
appeal, having truly beautiful acoustic ensemble work with a cello voice. The
composition provides the perfect support for a pretty, delicate vocal duet
between Matt Maher and his guest Jenny Pixler.
his acoustic ballad, SOPHIA is another most enjoyable gem about love in relationships
and asking the Lord if this is in His plans.
being a lyricist and composer, Matt Maher is also a fine vocalist, who uses his
natural tenor voice to fully express these thoughts from his heart in styles perfect
for each composition. He has a very good sense of dynamics, harmony, and style.
He has a solid vocal range, and perfect for his songs on this album.
lyrics are truly special and meaningful, reflecting the loving heart that Matt
has for the Lord, as his personal faith shines through for the benefit of us all.
His songs, no matter what musical style they are written in, have lyrical messages
that explore themes which are part of our human condition, relating them in a
variety of ways to the importance of being connected / seeking the Lord and being
in a relationship with Him, which is a vital element which we must strive for
in our walk of faith in Jesus, who will empower us and give us inner joy and peace,
no matter our circumstances.
Using just the
right musical vehicle for each song, the lyrical messages express the peaks and
valleys, temptations and struggles, joys and trials we all experience at some
time during our stay on earth. For Matt Maher focuses
on what we have in common as human beings, such as times of joy and grief, anger,
being in love, being in easy or difficult relationships, challenges, gladness,
etc. and the possibility of depending on a faithful and loving source; the anchor
of our faith - Jesus Christ, exploring why He alone is the answer.
our circumstances or behavior, Matt brings the message that we can turn to the
Lord for anything. These songs are great musical examples on how to approach the
Lord to praise and worship Him, ask for forgiveness, guidance, and how to give
Him all the Glory, all great ways to maintain a close relationship with the Lord,
allowing Him to be our hope, the anchor for our souls, as we follow Him in faith.
The songs on this album speak to
not only Catholic youth and young adults, but also to the younger generation in
other Christian denominations and those of any age which enjoy the acoustic pop
rock music genre as well. I dare say other generations of people (over 30!) will
also be inspired, as this reviewer was blessed in reviewing this album.
highly recommend this album for your personal music collection and /or for any
church music library. The songs are inspirational, enjoyable, and very spiritual
for Christians of many denominations, something for most contemporary services.
TRUTHS AND THEMES IN SONGS
Welcome to Life
- Gives a broad Overview of themes found in most of the songs on the CD.
and trust in Jesus and love each other as Jesus loves us.
the Lord in prayer to confess our mistakes, to ask for help and to thank him for
Thank Him and give Him all the glory for our successes
and our blessings.
Worship and praise
Him, giving the Lord
all the glory for our successes and our blessings - ALL GLORY TO GOD * ISAIAH 61 * JESUS, MY EVERYTHING
* I LOVE YOU, LORD * LEAD ME HOME
in Him and cast out your worries on
Him- 40 DAYS * SOPHIA
to love one anther as Jesus loves us - a model for the world - VOID * SOPHIA * SET ME AS A SEAL
the Lord Jesus, accept Him as Lord and Savior - JESUS,
MY EVERYTHING * JERICHO * VOID * LEAD ME HOME
Listen for His voice to lead you - YOUR GRACE IS ENOUGH * JESUS, MY
EVERYTHING * JERICHO * LEAD ME HOME
all stumble, make a mess, need to confess our mistakes and ask for guidance - 40 DAYS
Dedication: Jesus - For all the beautiful people You have put in my life; for
Your beauty. To You be the glory - Matt
to Life Songs: Individual Commentary and Review
* * + WELCOME TO LIFE
A strong opening song
which musically reminds the listener of a cross between a circus atmosphere and
the feeling of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour song which is swirled creatively
together with Matt's own ideas creating a fine ear-catching festive song which
sets the stage lyrically for the themes presented in the rest of the songs found
on this CD.
Scriptural References: (John 13:34,
Romans 7:18-20, 1 Cor.16:14, Gal. 5:6, 1 John 2:5 & 4:19)
Hello, good morning, everyone underneath the glorious Son.
I wrote a little song for you / Sometimes we forget we are the image of the Love
of God / So please, if you don't mind, let me remind you / That we were made to
love each other as a sister and a brother, imitate perfection in this imperfect
Chorus: So, welcome to life; I hope
you enjoy it / in between yesterday and tomorrow. / Welcome to life; I hope that
you get it right.
And on the way, I do confess
we stumble, fall, and make a mess of everything we try to hold dear. So be honest
when you pray, and maybe thank him for today.
go of the future so unclear / Listen for the voice of mercy, cast out all your
fear and worry / Can't you see you've only got room for the cross?
And you live and you'll die; you'll be honest and you'll lie. Put you trust where
the truth is and your treasure where you heart is.
hope that we get it right / I hope that I get it right.
* * ALL GLORY TO GOD - Words and Music by Kathy Troccoli, R. White, and B. Cuomo.
and worship hymn aimed right at the hearts of the young. A creative combination
of punk, ska, rock, and roll, carried off very well by some inspiring electrical
guitar work, driving drums, some keys and an interesting vocal style performed
by Matt Maher who is a versatile vocalist!
References: (Psalms 8:5, & 66:2, Rev. 4:11 & 5:12, 2nd Cor. 4:1-7, John
Everything I say and do, everything I am to you, oh, I pray that you will know.
Whatever is good in me, wherever there's joy to see, hear me say it's not my own.
Chorus: All glory to God, all honor is his,
no other is worthy of his name. All glory to God, I'll always be his, forever
I'll live to sing his praise.
Everyday I know
I'm blessed just to know my heart, it rests in his hands that gave me life. But
you know I won't forget what he's done for me, you bet I'm amazed every time.
So I'm singing…..
* * * + + YOUR GRACE IS
ENOUGH - Words and Music by Matt Maher and Tom Booth
favorite song of this reviewer. Well-done prayer worship hymn composed in a easy
beat contemporary pop rock style, with some pretty impressive sythns / electrical
guitar work/ which builds dynamically, adding to the emotion of the song. Verses
are sung softly. Well done dynamics building in both vocals and musical support
from Bridge to the Chorus. Great use of three distinct melodies. Verses, Bridge
and Chorus each have their own melody segment, which all work together to provide
a moving most enjoyable song.
Matt Maher again
provides the great vocals which bring the lyrics to life.
Matt Maher performed this song at World Youth Day 2005 Cologne, Germany in front
of hundreds and thousands of young believers. Chris Tomlin recorded this song
on his newest CD, ARRIVING.
(Psalm 23:2 & 117:2, Lam. 3:23, 2nd Cor. 12:9, Gen. 33:24)
Great is your faithfulness, O God of Jacob; You wrestle with the sinner's restless
heart / You lead me by still waters into mercy / where nothing can keep us apart.
Bridge: So, remember your people, remember
your children, remember your promise, O God.
For Your grace is enough. Yeah, your grace is enough / Yeah, your grace is enough
/ Yeah, your grace is enough / for m.e
is Your love and justice, God of Jacob; You use the weak to lead the strong / You
lead us in the song of heaven's victory / and all Your people sing along.
So, remember your people, remember your children, remember your promise, O God.
So, remember your people, remember your children, remember your promise, O God.
For Your grace is enough. Yeah, your grace is enough / Yeah, your grace is enough
/ Yeah, your grace is enough / for me. /// (Sung acappella with just the rock beat
For Your grace is enough. Yeah,
your grace is enough / Yeah, your grace is enough / Yeah, your grace is enough
/ for me. ///
* * * + 40 DAYS - Words and Music
by Matt Maher and Tom Booth
A hopeful acoustic
rock worship anthem - Strong acoustic driven beat / intro sets the tempo and melody.
Love the melody, lyrics, and stirring vocals which express the hope we have in
our belief in Jesus, as our Savior and Lord.
References: (Lev. 25:8-17, John 4:10, Jer. 17:13, Rev. 21:6, Ephes. 2:4-8)
days to wander, 40 days to die to self / 40 days to grow stronger as faith breaks
open the gates of hell.
The Jubilee is over,
but grace is far from gone / In the hearts of the faithful, broken on the wheels
Chorus: In the desert of temptation,
lies the storm of true conversion, where springs of living water drown and refresh
you And as the Jordan pours out change, your true self is all that remains, where
springs of living water bind and break you.
days to remember the Paschal sacrifice / 40 days to discover as passion calls
us to new life / The Jubilee is over but mercy is
far from gone / In the arms of the Father as the
wayward child comes home.
The Jubilee is over but mercy is far from gone.
* * + + ISAIAH 61 - Music by Matt Maher / Words by Matt Maher and Paul George
A truly interesting praise and worship song,
which captures the feeling and descriptive character so nicely of a Jewish Old
Testament scripture. Beginning sets the mood with a cantor singing something in
Hebrew - Like a call to prayer. Then rhythmic guitar jumps in to set beat and
melody. Song is composed in a minor key, which builds to a majestic high, by the
second time through the chorus! The Choral back up voices add a nice touch. Electric
guitars slowly become part of this celebration at first supporting the guitar,
then shine a little on their own at the very end of the song.
References: (Words based on Isaiah 61).
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has
anointed me / He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce
a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God, and a day of
vindication by our God.
Chorus: So will the
Lord God let justice and praise, justice and praise, justice and praise, so will
the Lord God let justice and praise spring up before all nations.
I rejoice heartily in the Lord; in the Lord is the joy of my soul / For he has
clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like
a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels.
the earth springs forth its plants and garden makes its growth spring up, and
a garden makes its growth spring up.
* * *
+ + JESUS, MY EVERYTHING - Words and Music by Matt Maher
confessional hymn. A beautiful piano / acoustic guitar confessional prayer hymn
which would do well in any contemporary service in any denomination. The wonderful
combination of the poignant vocals sung like he means it with the beautiful musical
support and light drum beat from second verse on makes a meaningful musical experience.
References: (Rev. 3:20, Matt. 24:33, John 14:23, 2nd Cor. 5:7)
been looking for a reason… I've been longing for a purpose…I'm losing all my meaning…I've
run out of excuses.
Lord, it's hard to know
You. I don't always see your plan / But holiness is calling me so take me as I
Chorus: You are my everything, you are
the song I sing; I'll do anything for you / Teach me how to pray, to live a life
of grace; I'll go anywhere with you / Jesus, be my everything.
Lord, I get so tired of the struggle within / I settle in complacency and I'm
weighed down in my sin /
So lead me past emotion,
'cause they changed with the wind / I want to be a true disciple to daily choose
* * * + + JERICHO - Words and Music
by Matt Maher
Favorite guitar rock praise
and worship hymn of this reviewer, which is both heartfelt and pumping with spirit.
Love the change in dynamics and contrasts found throughout the song. Begins softly
as a majestic solemn hymn in the intro with a youth choir for first 8 measures.
Segues into a driving beat, propelled by electric / acoustic guitar and drums.
Against this rock beat, verses & the catchy melody supporting them are sung
/ played like a prayer, with soft guitar chords both broken and solid, but swells
into a joyous chorus of thanksgiving, of praising Jesus, both vocally and in the
enthusiastic band ensemble! If this song were played on the radio, it would be
#1. The listener will be swept up in the joy and may find that singing along in
spirit will be the natural reaction!
References: (Luke 10:27, Rev. 4:11, Phil. 2:8-11, 1 Cor. 6:19-20, Heb. 6:19-20)
Intro: Girls: Let the walls come down Boys:(Let
the walls come down) Let the walls come down (Let the walls come down) : Let the
walls come down.
How could I be silent anymore?
For all you are and all you've done, my Lord, how could I bow down to anyone but
You? In my heart I'll make an altar for You alone
to dwell forever / In my heart I only want to live for You.
1: And my soul cries out to You / Yeah, my soul cries out to You.
You are beautiful, glorious, wonderful, Lord Jesus / Forever will I worship You,
forever will I sing / You are beautiful, glorious, wonderful, Lord Jesus / Forever
will I worship You at the sound of your name.
world of man will rise and fall / under the weight of Your great love / And everyone
will praise Your name, for You are God / All Your
children will return / to the table of the Lord / And everyone will praise Your
name, for you are God.
Bridge 2: I will stake
my claim in you / I will stake my claim in you .
.....At the sound of your name// at the sound of your name.
Let the walls fall down at the sound of Your name / Let the earth bow down at
the sound of Your name / Let your people pray at the sound of Your name / Let
Your glory fall at the sound of Your name.
Chorus: You are beautiful,
glorious, wonderful, Lord Jesus / Forever will I worship You, forever will I sing
/ You are beautiful, glorious, wonderful, Lord Jesus / Forever will I worship
Tag: At the sound of your name / at the sound of your name / at the sound of your name / at the sound of your name, Lord.
* * + VOID - Words & Music by Matt Maher - Programming / Electric Guitar: Jeff
A spirited rock ballad prayer hymn altar
call song written in a minor key. Great contrast in dynamics. Begins loudly with
a electric guitar rock jig (Jeff Thomas), setting the rhythm and minor key melody.
Settles down to a quieter mood with tight rhythmic support of melody in verses,
played first by acoustic guitar then electric guitar chimes in as well in the
same style. Expressive lyrics tell the story and thoughts of someone realizing
that everything our secular society offers doesn't fill the emptiness inside -
that only Jesus can fill this emptiness.
References: (Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15-16, Col. 3:5)
Riding down the streets of envy, looking for some recognition
/ That would make me really happy / If they desired my position.
Prom-time princess, beauty queen; see all the admiring faces / Chasing after blind
ambition, they don't see the King of Heaven's graces.
Cause what I want is you; what I need is truth / Will someone tell me that for
a change? / Nothing ever holds in a world lukewarm / so come and fill the empty
space inside of me
Wish upon a falling star
/ and dream of your perfection / It fades away held up against your failures /
and dying self-opinion.
on the late night TV / showing off the next big thing / Turn it off -I'm lost
/ I forgot who I was / Jesus, won't you tell me I'm worth something?
* * * + + SOPHIA (A love song
for Wisdom) - Words and Music by Matt Maher
acoustic ballad with a peppy easy rock beat. Begins simply with just an acoustic
guitar in first stanza. Love the 3 distinct melodies in the song - Verses, Bridge,
and the glorious Chorus. Delicate inner voices of this acoustic ensemble add so
much to the melody support in all three sections. Great use of dynamics in both
the composition and vocals.
Vocals by Matt
Maher and Marissa Gamero add so much to the lyrical presentation. The lyrics describe
a man head over heels in love, asking the Lord if this romance is in His plan
for this individual.
Scriptural References: (Phil. 4:6-8,
1 Peter 5:7)
so, you know, makes me want to be like Jesus // I am / Your hands / tell me what
Your plan for this is.
Bridge :In Your sacred
heart, I burn for You. Could I burn with her in a flame of truth /where all my
burdens float like angel feather?
you know me / Sophia see through me / Sophia, dance with me, help me make it through
Dark night, so bright, now I see
the way of passion / Let go my soul, now it only longs for your affection.
In Your sacred heart, I dwell with You / Could I dwell with her like the angels
do, where all my burdens float like angel feather?
Sophia, Sophia, Sophia, Sophia (dance with me tonight), Sophia
(dance with me tonight), Sophia (dance with me tonight),
Sophia (dance with me tonight), Sophia (dance with
Nice string and guitar interlude
at the end.
* * * + + SET ME AS A SEAL - Words
and Music by Matt Maher
Favorite acoustic ballad
of this reviewer. An absolutely beautiful, 3/4 metered, flowing love ballad, brought
to life musically by an ensemble of guitar / piano/ mandarin / cello, creating
a flowing melody support and counter melody which provides the perfect musical
base for the heartfelt vocals. Listener is treated to a delightful vocal duet
by Matt Maher & Jenny Pixler. Perfect for a contemporary wedding!!!!! Any
denomination would love this song.
References: (Song of Songs: 3:1-4 & 4:1 & 8:6)
Duet Chorus: Set me as a seal on your heart / Set me as a seal on your soul /
For strong as death is love, unyielding as the grave / Nothing will quench its
flame, nothing will quench it's flame.
Pixler) Kiss me, my love, that your name be on my lips / You intoxicate my being
with the fragrance of your presence.
Maher) How beautiful you are, my darling / Show me your face, let me hear your
voice / (duet) Sweet as the dew in the early morn, like a lily among the thorns.
(Jenny Pixler) I looked for you, the one my heart loves / I looked for you, but
did not find you / I searched through the night until I rested in your sight /
Now I will never let you go.
(Matt Maher) You
have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance
of your eyes / Your lips so sweet, adorned with honey / (duet) My hands, they
drip with myrrh.
Duet Chorus: Set me as a seal
on your heart / Set me as a seal on your soul / For strong as death is love, unyielding
as the grave / Nothing will quench its flame, nothing will quench it flame.
* * + I LOVE YOU, LORD
acoustic prayer / worship hymn with a lovely melody, poignant vocals & lyrical
message, and a chorus perfect for a litany for any congregation as the words are
easy to remember and sing along with. An inspiring love letter to the Lord. Drums
don't appear until the Hook.
Scriptural References: (Psalm
91:1-3 & 46:1-3)
I love you, Lord / I love you, Lord / I love you, Lord; you are my strength.
heart, it longs to be with You and nothing else will ever do / So at your throne
is where I'll be, where Your flesh and blood consumes me and I am one with You.
My stronghold, my refuge, Your righteousness
will see me through / In the dark of night and torn of sin I will stay close to
You, my friend, and I am one with You.
I am one, I am one, I am one, with You.
I love you, I love you Lord, I love You!
* * + + LEAD ME HOME - Words and Music by Matt Maher
vocals: Marissa Gamero, David Lancette and Jenny Pixler
perfect song to end this fine CD! A lovely acoustic worship prayer hymn of thankfulness
with a light peppy beat and a dash of pop which should please a wide age range
in contemporary worship. Great blend of electrical guitar work along with the
acoustic pop gives a full sound to the composition. Dynamics build nicely through
out the customary 3 melody parts - Verses / Bridge / Chorus. More of a rock feel
begins at verse 3. Vocals are well presented both main vocals by Matt and the
Scriptural References: (John
3:16, 1 Thess: 5:16-18, Heb. 7:27-28, Romans 5:1-5)
you for the cross, thank you for Your love, the perfect sacrifice of praise to
God above / Thank you for the gift / thank you for the price of losing everything
/ to gain eternal life / Thank you / Thank you / Thank
Thank you for Your joy, thank you for the
pain of longing for peace in my suffering / Thank you for my hunger, for my poverty,
that I would fall into the arms of mercy.
Bridge: Every road leads back to You, every journey lies in You.
So lead me home, my lover, Savior / Lead me home, my master, redeemer / Lead me
home and I will rest in you.
I praise You when
I'm broken / praise you when I'm lost, that it would keep me honest, in need of
You alone / I praise You for the past, for the mess of sin, that I would never
want to turn from You again.
road leads back to You, every journey lies in You.
So lead me home, my lover, Savior / Lead me home, my master, redeemer / Lead me
home and I will rest in you.
Hook: Every road
leads back to You, every journey lies in You / So lead me home, my lover, Savior
/ Lead me home, my master, redeemer / Lead me home and I will rest in you.
Lead me home and I will rest in you / Lead me home
and I will rest in you / Lead me home and I will rest in you / Lead
me home and I will rest in you.
Julie Carr for ChristianMusic.com
for some of these songs is available at spiritandsong.com/store/sheetmusic
MATT MAHER VIDEOS... "YOUR GRACE IS ENOUGH" VIDEO & "VOID" VIDEO