Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Alive & Breathing, Vol. 1 – Matt Maher
****

This is the first of four Alive & Breathing releases from Matt Maher. Each EP will feature three songs – a new song, a live version of a song that Maher has written for other artists but hasn’t recorded himself, and a live version of some of Maher’s previous songs. Here are a few comments on each song on Vol. 1.

Run to the Father – This song was written by Maher with Cody Carnes and Ran Jackson and produced by Bernie Herms. The powerful song of surrender features piano, strings, drums, and backing choir vocals.

Key lyric:
I run to the Father, I fall into grace
I’m done with the hiding, no reason to wait
My heart needs a surgeon, my soul needs a friend
So, I’ll run to the Father, again and again

Lord, I Need You (Señor, Te Necesito) – This is a live version of Maher’s worship song “Lord, I Need You”, which Maher recorded with Bianca, who sings in Spanish. Maher wrote the song with Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves and Kristian Stanfill. The song features piano, bass, guitar, drums, and the audience singing along. The voices of Maher and Bianca blend well.

White Flag – This is a live version of a song that Chris Tomlin originally recorded at the Passion Conference. Maher wrote the song with Tomlin, Jason Ingram and Matt Redman. The song features synth, drums, guitar, bass and the audience singing along.

Key lyric:
We raise our white flag
We surrender all to you, all for you
We raise our white flag, the war is over
Love has come, your love has won

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • Reviews of Alive & Breathing, Volumes 2-4 by Matt Maher
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Alive & Breathing, Vol. 2 – Matt Maher
****

This is the second of four Alive & Breathing releases. Each EP features three songs – a new song, a live version of a song that Maher has written for other artists but hasn’t recorded himself, and a live version of some of Maher’s previous songs. Here are a few comments on each song on Vol. 2.
Alive & Breathing – This new song was written by Maher and Elle Limebear. Limebear also adds vocals to the song. This song of encouragement features piano, backing vocals, guitar, strings and drums.

Key lyric:
Joy still comes in the morning
Hope still walks with the hurting
If you’re alive and breathing, praise the Lord
Don’t stop dancing and dreaming
There’s still good news worth repeating
So, lift your head and keep singing, praise the Lord

Because He Lives (Amen) – I was introduced to this song when Maher sang this song in concert a few years ago as he opened for Toby Mac. This is a live version of the song he wrote with Bill Gaither, Gloria Gaither, Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, Ed Cash and Jason Ingram. The joyful song features drums, synth, piano and the audience singing along.

Soul on Fire – One of my favorite Third Day songs, I recently heard Mac Powell and the Family Reunion perform this song in concert and the next day when they led worship at a church in Indiana. The song was written by Maher with Brenton Brown, Mac Powell, Tai Anderson, David Carr and Mark Lee. This excellent live version features drums, guitar and the audience singing along.

Alive & Breathing, Vol. 3 – Matt Maher
***

This is the third of four Alive & Breathing releases. Each EP features three songs – a new song, a live version of a song that Maher has written for other artists but hasn’t recorded himself, and a live version of some of Maher’s previous songs. Here are a few comments on each song on Vol. 3.

Lord of My Life – This new song was written by Maher and Daniel Bashta. The song features piano, backing vocals, guitar, synth, and drums. He is prone to wander. The Lord is the destination and the way to get there. He surrenders all.

Key lyric:
Be the song I sing, be my guiding light
Savior of my soul, be the Lord of my life
Every step I take, always by my side
I am Yours, You are mine, be the Lord of my life

Your Love Defends Me – This is a live version of Maher’s song that he wrote with Hannah Kerr. Maher has said that the song comes out of Psalm 91, and the idea of God being not a refuge, but our only refuge. The song features acoustic guitar and the audience singing along and then builds with electric guitar, piano and drums.

Here for You – This is a live version of a worship song Maher wrote with Tim Wanstall, Jesse Reeves and Matt Redman, who originally recorded the song. The song was also recorded live at a Passion Conference, with Chris Tomlin handling the lead vocals. The song features keys, synth, bass, drums, partially distorted vocals, the audience clapping and singing along.

Alive & Breathing, Vol. 4 – Matt Maher
****

This is fourth and final of the excellent Alive & Breathing EP releases from Matt Maher. Each features three songs, a combination of new songs, live versions of songs that Maher has written for other artists but hasn’t recorded himself, and live versions of some of Maher’s previous songs. Here are a few comments on each song on Vol. 4.

Come as You Are – This is a live version of a song made popular by Crowder, and included on his 2014 album Neon Steeple. The song was written by Maher, Crowder and Ben Glover. The song begins with acoustic guitar and then slowly builds with piano, guitar, bass and the audience singing along.

Key lyric:
Oh, wanderer come home
You’re not too far
Lay down your hurt

Lay down your heart
Come as you are

Lord, I Need You – This is a live version of perhaps Maher’s most popular song, which was written by Maher, Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves and Kristian Stanfill. I first heard this song sung by Chris Tomlin on the 2011 Passion conference album Here for You. The song begins with piano and gently builds with bass, drum and the audience singing along.

Key lyric:
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Come Holy Spirit – This is a live version of a song I hadn’t previously heard, featuring Martin Smith, formerly of the band Delirious? The song was written by Smith, Maher, Paul Nelson, Lydia McAllister, Henry Milne and Connor Patterson. The song begins with piano, and then builds powerfully with keys, strings, bass, drums, guitar, the audience singing along and ends with some excellent organ. This was the highlight of the EP for me.

Key lyric:
Come, Holy Spirit
Fall on us
Burn like a fire
Living flame of love

  • New and Upcoming Music. Here are a few new and upcoming albums that I’m excited about.
  • Justin Bieber on his Faith. Adam Ford writes “Justin Bieber opened up about his rekindled Christian faith in a remarkable interview with Apple Music to promote the release of his new album Changes. During the wide-ranging interview he talked openly about his faith in Jesus, his “turning away from sin,” his reliance on grace, the influence of Christian mentors, his love of his wife, and how he believes Jesus saved him.” Watch this four-minute video of highlights from the interview.
  • Mercies (New Every Morning). Check out the official live video for “Mercies (New Every Morning)” by Matt Redman, from his new album Let There Be Wonder.

He Will Hold Me Fast – Selah   

This week’s song of the week is from Selah, performing “He Will Hold Me Fast”, written by Ada Habershon and Matt Merker. The song was recorded during the “Hymn Sing” at the Grand Ole Opry House at the 2019 Sing! Getty Worship Conference. Watch the performance of the song here.

When I fear my faith will fail
Christ will hold me fast
When the tempter would prevail
He will hold me fast
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path
For my love is often cold
He must hold me fast

Chorus:

He will hold me fast
He will hold me fast
For my Savior loves me so
He will hold me fast

Those He saves are His delight
Christ will hold me fast
Precious in His holy sight
He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast

CHORUS

For my life He bled and died
Christ will hold me fast
Justice has been satisfied
He will hold me fast
Raised with Him to endless life
He will hold me fast
Till our faith is turned to sight
When he comes at last

CHORUS

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 40 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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