Since his 2008 major label debut, Matt Maher has become a staple in the artistic and songwriting community. A nine time-GRAMMY® nominee and three time-GMA Dove Award winner, he has garnered multiple radio successes, writing and recording songs such as his Top 5 CCLI song “Lord, I Need You” and the chart-topping radio single “Because He Lives (Amen).” Along with other hits such as “Hold Us Together,” “Christ Is Risen,” “All The People Said Amen,” and “Your Grace Is Enough,” Maher has written or co-written five No. 1 radio singles.
Penning numerous songs recorded by Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Third Day, Jeremy Camp, Matt Redman, Hillsong, Casting Crowns, Meredith Andrews, Jesus Culture, Jars of Clay, and Passion, he’s had multiple titles on the CCLI chart’s Top 500 list. With career album sales of more than 550,000 units to date, Maher was recently awarded his first RIAA Platinum certification for his popular single “Lord, I Need You.” He’s released nine studio albums, including his 2017 GRAMMY-nominated album Echoes. He also released his first Christmas album and children’s book, both titled The Advent of Christmas, during the 2018 holiday season.
Matt Maher achieved a career highlight in 2013 when he performed at the Vigil Mass presided by Pope Francis, in front of a crowd of three million people for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. Two years later he performed again for the Pope in downtown Philadelphia as part of the World Meeting of Families, appearing along with The Fray, Aretha Franklin, Juanes, Jim Gaffigan, and Mark Wahlberg, among others. Maher also recently joined the elite group of musicians and artists as an official Steinway Artist.
Audrey Assad’s music has always been drawn from a well deep with personal experience and discovery. With each new release, she gives listeners an honest look at the seasonal highs and lows of what has turned out to be a layered and complex spiritual journey. The multiple Dove award nominee has never shied away from writing her wounds and struggles into her songs; instead, she seems to face her greatest trials armed with the knowledge that true healing can only take root in the soil of vulnerability. The result is a bravely authentic, confessional approach to writing songs about God, a style which has never been on brighter display than with Assad’s newest project, the highly anticipated Eden (Fortunate Fall Records/Tone Tree Music).
Eden places Assad’s stand-out songwriting into a sonic space as lush and warm as the garden from which the record gets its name. Texturing eclectic pop shimmer with organic, earthy depth, the record is a front-to-back look at what makes Assad’s writing so compelling; she sees the spiritual in the natural, and sets it to music. Her bright, airy vocals lie effortlessly on top of rich soundscapes. Wild imagery meshes seamlessly with glimmering synth lines. Or, as Audrey herself puts it, “birdsong and quivering strings meet drum machines.”
While Assad’s critically acclaimed 2018 LP Evergreen marked the beginning of a period of spiritual rewiring - of digging up old roots and searching for fresh ground - Eden finds Assad blossoming with a fluorescent display of new healing and hope. If Evergreen was a plea for growth, Eden is an announcement that her prayer is being answered in abundance.
“There’s a deep calm that I can hear in the lyrics,” observes Assad. “I can tell that I’ve grown, deepened, healed, and opened up quite a lot. I try never to write a song I haven’t lived in some way, so each of these songs is born of some experience in my life.” Take as an example the Psalm-like lead single “Shiloh,” a vibrant, colorful call to all who, like Audrey herself, have been tormented by past hurts. “Now as your tears flow, let them be cleansing; washing your heart so you can be mending,” sings Assad. “May loving kindness calm the raging of the wound; may your healing be a clearing in the wood; and may you breathe in deeper than you ever could before.”
Teeming throughout with an undeniable sense of the old being made new (there’s even a graceful, orchestral cover of Jimmy Eat World’s 2001 classic “The Middle”), Eden unashamedly covers the distance between Audrey’s old ideas about God and her freshly gained perspective that can only be the result of a true-to-life spiritual awakening.
It’s the significance and depth of this revelation - that God is to be found everywhere, from the most extravagantly beautiful places in the universe to the deepest sorrows of the most fragile human heart - that stirred Assad’s resolve to put her experience to lyric and music so that listeners can share in the story of Eden. “I hope for people to look around at nature and see the vibrating, pulsating love of God that is and always has been with them,” she explains. “To anyone who has listened to my music and found themselves far on the fringes of their younger projections of themselves: God is in all. God is not inaccessible to you. You have never been completely separate from God, and you never could be.”
Each year The Vigil Project collaborates with new and known Catholic musicians around the world to create music for every moment of the Catholic journey. Following the Church’s liturgical calendar, they share new music, host events for parish communities, and provide music leaders with resources for worship.
The Vigil Project's dream is to keep giving the Church more... more music for every moment of our Catholic journey.