Matt Maher, CCM Magazine - image
Matt Maher – ‘Echoes’ album review
4.5 Overall Score


Sony Music Entertainment / Provident Label Group

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"Picket Sign"
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Matt Maher – ‘Echoes’ album review

Matt Maher, CCM Magazine - image

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Music transcends apparent barriers, and when Matt Maher sings classics from the hymnal—some considered as the very staples of the Church—there’s a sense of passion and piety present that is as unique as Maher’s own voice and story. A devout Catholic, and one who admits growing up on the Jesus-movement praise choruses of the 70s and 80s, it wasn’t until Maher dug deeper into the backstories of such hymns and their writers like Joseph Scriven (“What A Friend We Have In Jesus”), Judson VanDeventer (“I Surrender All”), Charlotte Elliott (“Just As I Am”), and Thomas Chisolm (“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”)—all receiving interwoven featurettes on Echoes (buy)—that he admits, “Some of our most powerful contributions we have to offer to the world are things that are actually born out of suffering.” Suffering—the overarching theme of Maher’s eighth full-length, and first since 2015—in which he also draws the poignant attribution of the cross embodying both a vertical and horizontal dimension, in that through Jesus’ death, God also reconciled us with each other. Sonically, Echoes intelligently bounces back-and-forth from the praise, to the reverent, to the difficulty of the times, “The crisis of humanity we face right now,” as Maher would say. In ways only he can deliver, there are moments of deep introspection to behold, especially on tunes like “Picket Sign” (You gave your life just to give me mine / Your love lifted up like a picket sign), “Just As I Am” (Guilty I stood, guilty I was / I couldn’t hide my shame / Just as I am, Jesus You welcomed me / You took me in), and “Won’t Let Me Down” (My heart is in shambles, there’s no easy answers / But You aren’t surprised, there’s no fear in Your eyes). The album also upticks at times with jubilant worship, even more-so than in prior releases, exhibited on songs like the lead single “Your Love Defends Me” and “What A Friend.”


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