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“Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde

Sometimes in order to move forward, you have to look back and remember where you’ve been. It was in that spirit that Matt Maher birthed his latest
album, Saints and Sinners (Essential/Sony). The garage-turned-studio behind Maher’s home became a haven of reflection as he tirelessly transformed it into a creative songwriting space. “Every day, I’d go out there and dream a bit and ask, ‘God, what do you want to build here?’” Maher recalls. “I thought a lot about the nature of what it means to build something, and I didn’t have a clear sense of where I was headed. I found myself in a place of unknowing,” Maher says. “So I naturally started gravitating toward writings and quotes from people having experienced the tension between certainty and mystery.” He began saving these prayers, quotes and excerpts while also studying prophetic voices who significantly impacted the history of the church - believers who wrestled with matters of faith, who challenged the status quo and left marked legacies.

Amidst creativity unfolding, the record-making process began, unbeknownst to Maher, when he stepped into the studio to record a song based on the timeless
Bill Gaither hymn “Because He Lives.” Initially, he was recording the song for a one-off compilation project, but Maher’s label heard the demo and
immediately deemed it his next radio single. “All of a sudden, it was like, ‘You’re making a record,’ and what’s funny is my first response was, ‘But I
don’t have any songs,’” he recalls. “The more I thought about it, I realized I had already begun the writing process for all these songs, based on all these
people I had been studying. I just wasn’t aware of how beautifully it was starting to come together.” “Because He Lives (Amen)” became the catalyst to
initiate an entire chain of songwriting sessions based on a short list of difference makers.

Maher brought together a host of talented songwriters among who were Thad Cockrell (Leagues), Jon Foreman (Switchfoot), Bo and Bear Rinehart (NEEDTOBREATHE), Jason Ingram and several others for the project. With songs loosely crafted and ready for the studio, Maher collaborated with longtime friend and producer Paul Moak (Third Day, Mat Kearney) to bring to life the themes of unity and the struggle of living in the “in-between.” This duality was not only explored lyrically but also sonically as the two men creatively experimented in-studio on “Saints and Sinners.

“We were looking at the idea of the tension between the saint and the sinner - of looking at two contrasting things, and incorporating that into the production
of the music. For example, you take an imperfect being, who generates analog sound waves, and they get recorded into a computer that turns them into
digital information. You can create so much within a computer that there is a fine line of tension between it sounding perfect versus human, so we tried to
arrive at a reconciliation between the two,” Maher explains. The lives and work of other influencers became the blueprint for additional
cuts, like the album’s driving first track, “Future Not My Own,” which is based on a prayer inspired by martyr Oscar Romero. “This prayer really brings to
light that we’re announcing a kingdom that’s here, that’s coming, and that’s being built, that we won’t see the finish of. That’s a huge aspect of being a part
of the Church, the body of Christ.”